Israeli-Arab Maccabi Haifa player detained by police before match

The Israel National Team player was detained by the police after an argument over his entrance to the parking area in Sami Offer Stadium. after the police officers failed to recognize him.

 Maccabi Haifa v Slavia Prague - Sammy Ofer Stadium, Haifa, Israel - October 21, 2021 (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
Maccabi Haifa v Slavia Prague - Sammy Ofer Stadium, Haifa, Israel - October 21, 2021
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

In a bizarre incident before Maccabi Haifa's  3-1 victory over Ironi Ness Ziona in a Saturday soccer match, Israel National Team and Maccabi Haifa player Mahmoud Jaber was detained by the police.

Jaber is currently injured and did not arrive at the stadium with the team bus, instead driving to the stadium in his personal vehicle. When he tried to enter the parking area the security did not recognize him and demanded his parking permit. 

Israel Police officers on the scene claimed that the Maccabi Haifa player refused to show both his parking permit and his ID card to the police, and after refusing to move his vehicle from the traffic lane he was detained. Additionally, the police statement issued afterward claims that Jaber was disturbing the officers while they were performing their duties.

Maccabi Haifa's Mahmoud Jaber being detained by the police before Maccabi Haifa's game against Ironi Nes-Ziona September 10 2022.

The incident was noticed by Maccabi Haifa's fans who tried telling the police officers that Jaber is a player on the team. Video footage of the event was uploaded to Twitter by one of the fans on the scene.

Jaber was handcuffed and put in a police car, but soon after realizing that they had detained a team player, he was released. The police later said that the investigation is ongoing and that the player would be called in for further questioning if required.

Maccabi Haifa published an official response saying, "the player Mahmoud Jaber arrived at the stadium trying to enter the parking area. all of his efforts to explain that he is a Maccabi Haifa player had fallen on deaf ears. Even an intervention from the club and security company's staff, who identified the player, did not convince the police officers that he is indeed a part of the Maccabi Haifa squad.

"The player was detained for a few minutes and was released after the police officers understood that Jaber is a Maccabi Haifa player."

According to a report from Sport 5, Jaber himself said when arriving at the stadium: "Everything is fine, it was a misunderstanding."

The relationship between police and football in Israel

The relationship between the police and the Israeli football community has been shaky at best following multiple police brutality incidents in the last year, several of them taking place in Haifa. The subject even reached the Knesset, at the Public Security Committee last February, following a police brutality incident in Haifa.

Jaber who made his debut in the Israeli national team last June, is considered to be one of the most promising young players in the Israeli Premier League. The 22-year-old midfielder has been the league's player of the month last October.