Police cite failure in Betar-Sakhnin brawl

Report said that not all the necessary operational actions were taken to prevent the violence.

An internal police report into the violence between supporters of Bnei Sakhnin and Betar Jerusalem during their soccer match last month has admitted the police made a number of mistakes. "The central failure that caused the creation of what was defined as the 'domino effect' was actually after the end of the game, with the non-deployment of the police outside the ground to prevent Sakhnin supporters hurling stones at Betar Jerusalem fans," the report said. The report added that not all the necessary operational actions were taken to prevent the violence. Police Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi set up the inquiry after fighting broke out between both teams' supporters and police after the final whistle at the Doha Stadium in Sakhnin. Betar supporters were allowed onto the pitch after Sakhnin's fans threw stones at them, but the Jerusalemites then vandalized the stadium. At the time, police were criticized for allowing Sakhnin fans to leave the ground before those of Betar. Deputy Commander Ezra Aharon carried out the investigation and handed it to Karadi last week. Aharon placed direct responsibility for the events on two officers, the commander of match-day police and head of the Galil region, Danny Hadad, and the commander of the outside forces and head of Shfaram police station, Yoram Daniely. Aharon recommended that both receive a note in their respective files but didn't appear to propose further disciplinary action. However, Aharon also said that the decision to move Betar fans onto the pitch was correct and may even have saved lives. To prevent hooliganism from occurring again, Aharon's main recommendation was to create a "unified operational model" based on past experience, the police said, adding that Karadi has adopted the proposals of the report. Following a hearing three days after the match, the Israel Football Association fined Sakhnin NIS 50,000 and Betar NIS 75,000, and ordered the Arab team to play four games without fans in attendance.