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Oh, Beitarby michael • November 06 2007
One of the great tragedies of life in modern Jerusalem, besides the violence and the firm and persistent conviction of city officials that Moshe Safdie is a trustworthy architect and urban planner, is that our hometown football team, Beitar Yerushalayim, is frequently an embarrassment. Not an embarrassment on the field (although not exactly a cause for celebration either), but an embarrassment in the stands. A vocal percentage of extreme rightist Beitar fans, notorious throughout Israel, engages at every conceivable opportunity, at every home and away game, in appalling displays of racism, chauvinism, violence and general churlishness. Hooliganism seems to be an unavoidable byproduct of soccer the world over, unfortunately, and Beitar has a terrible case of it.
Beitar fans' humiliating scandals are legion, and the latest occurred a couple days ago when, at a Beitar match, the fans were asked to observe a moment of silence for the 12th anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (an assassination carried out by an extreme-rightist). Instead, the fans - according to some sources the majority of the fans - booed throughout the supposedly silent period. The Jerusalem Post reports:
Jerusalemite is not sure what's more disturbing, the utter lack of human decency displayed by the Beitarniks, or the fact that Ehud Olmert saves his most passionate speeches for rowdy and disrespectful fans at a soccer match.
It's high time we got a soccer team that didn't make Jerusalemites ashamed to be so.
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