Beitar Jerusalem is the only club in Israel that has never signed an Arab player because its owners have always feared fans backlash.
Beitar was always a team associated with Israel’s major right-wing political party (Likud) but only in the last few years, the club has turned into the team of the extreme right wing.
The most racist Beitar Jerusalem fans – helped by Israeli extreme right wing parties, took over the stands. Violent and racist, they are organized under the very stupid name “La Familia”. The group is notorious for chants that insult Arab and black players, and for displaying the flag of the banned Kach party. Cheers with lines such as “death to the Arabs” are common in Beitar’s games. These “fans” just made it impossible for families and moderate fans to come and enjoy Beitar Jerusalem games.
The owner of the club, Eli Tabib, has decided to cooperate with “La Familia”. Being a convicted felon himself, it only made sense.
Tabib took over Beitar Jerusalem after destroying three other Israeli clubs (Hapoel Alia, Hapoel Kfar Saba and Hapoel Tel Aviv). He was somehow allowed to take over Beitar Jerusalem and has destroyed every dissent relationship the club had with its moderate fans. He doesn’t interact with them and he has blamed them for the club’s failure.
Alienated from their own home, the moderate Beitar fans felt they had to do something and so they did. Beitar Jerusalem fans, tired of the extremists and racists amongst them, have decided to form their own football club in the bottom division of Israeli football (Liga Gimel).
The new club was called “Beitar Nordia”. The original name of Beitar Jerusalem.
“We are Zionists and love our country” says Dr. Itsik Alfasi, one of the founders of “Nordia”. “We want to mix our love for our country with universal values. We believe that human beings are equal and every religion, race and gender should be respected. We loved our team with every beat of our hearts but the racists took over the club. Because of them we were ashamed of Beitar”.
Nordia have already recruited sponsors and the new club has already differentiated itself from the Beitar Jerusalem by signing an Arab player. It still needs any help it can get from donors and fans.
Beitar Nordia was inspired by Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem, another fan-owned football club in Israel’s capital. It has received the moral support of Israel’s new President, Reuven Rivlin, who was once Beitar Jerusalem’s General Manager.
One can only hope that this new fan-owned club will prosper and spread its anti-Racist message. Its success could be vital in the fight against extremists in the Middle East.
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