Sunday, March 7, 2021

Jerusalem football club discussing part ownership with UAE royal family despite racist fans

The owner is determined to show that Muslims and Jews can work and play together without fear.

Other News

Ahli Parlimen PKR sahkan tiada tawaran RM10 juta untuk lompat parti

SPRM masih meneruskan siasatan berhubung dakwaan rasuah tersebut.

No RM10 million offer to jump ship, says PKR MP

This follows the MACC report lodged by Natrah Ismail over an alleged attempt to procure her support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Dr Mahathir lega setelah disuntik vaksin Covid-19

Dr Mahathir berkata rakyat Malaysia tidak perlu meragui keberkesanan dan keselamatan vaksin.

Trend jangkitan Covid-19 terus menurun, catat bawah 2,000 kes baru

Malaysia catat 1,683 kes baru Covid-19 hari ini.

New cases still under 2,000 as recoveries stay ahead

1,683 new cases, 2,506 recoveries.

Following the normalisation agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, connections are being made between their sports and business worlds.

Businessman Moshe Hogeg, owner of Beitar Jerusalem football club, is currently in negotiation with Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, with a view to them acquiring 49% ownership of his club.

Beitar Jerusalem has been struggling for some years, not only against underperforming on the pitch but also against a small core group of racist, violent fans who have been fighting efforts to bring Arab or Muslim players into the club.

The fan group, who call themselves La Familia, often daub anti-Arab graffiti around the club and are vocal in their dislike of Muslim players.

On Dec 4, about 100 La Familia members broke into Beitar’s training field to protest the emerging UAE deal, forcing the training session to stop. The club was forced to call the police to eject its own fans.

Afterward, Hogeg tweeted: “No one will deflect us from the path chosen by the majority of Beitar fans. The Emirates are aware of what is happening and will not be surprised over anything that takes place here by extremists.”

Hogeg met with Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, spiritual leader of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community, and received the rabbi’s blessing for his actions in teaming up with the UAE.

“We do not ‘do’ racism in the holy city, and certainly not on my watch,” Hogeg told Al Monitor. “We need to take action to show that Muslims and Jews can work together, without fear.”

The large majority of fans approve the new deal, Hogeg said, perhaps because they hope it will inject enough money to allow Beitar to acquire top-level players. It’s a long time since Beitar tasted glory on the pitch.

One fan from the West Bank claims that Israel’s sports media actually encourage extremism. He told Al-Monitor that they like to lump all Beitar fans together, to give the impression that they are all Arab-haters and racists.

He said that in the two years since Hogeg acquired the club, he has led a real revolution by embarking on a “love thy neighbour” campaign. But the Israeli sports media refuse to accept the change and continues to search for the handful of fans who oppose Hogeg’s tactics.

The Emirates investors are not backing down.

If the agreement goes ahead, the Beitar stadium is expected to fill with Emirati visitors in keffiyehs on match days, in spite of La Familia.

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

Muhyiddin tiba di Jeddah bagi memulakan lawatan rasmi ke Arab Saudi

Lawatan ke negara ini atas jemputan Raja Arab Saudi Raja Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

ICC opens Israeli-Palestinians war crimes probe

The probe will focus on a military operation launched by Israel 2014 with the stated aim of stopping rocket fire into the country by militants of Islamist movement Hamas, which saw about 2,250 Palestinians killed.

TMJ eyeing Spanish football club Valencia?

The club was valued at €408 million in a report by global accountancy firm KPMG last year.

Netanyahu blames Iran for boat attack, says ‘striking’ back

The Israeli army has refused to confirm its involvement in the attack, which came days after the explosion that hit the Israeli-owned MV Helios Ray, a vehicle carrier travelling from the Saudi port of Dammam to Singapore.

Israel sends vaccine ‘gifts’ to friendly nations

But the right-wing premier, who describes Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s 'undivided capital', cheers nations that conduct diplomacy with Israel from the disputed city.