The name of the Israeli football team - Beitar Jerusalem - probably doesn't mean anything to most fans of sports in general and even football in particular. The quality and the achievements of this (or any other) Israeli football team are such that "miracle" is the only word that comes to mind. In the sense that it's a miracle that some unknown, totally irrational and sense-defying force sustains Israeli football and pays generous salaries and other perks to the clowns that participate in the travesty. Must be a celestial something, no doubt.
But this is about Beitar, and this is where we are with that bunch of clowns.
Like many European sporting teams, the Jerusalem soccer club was established with a clear political affiliation — to Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Beitar movement. Historically, many of Israel’s right-leaning Likud party leaders were fans of the team, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Likud-Beytenu’s Avigdor Liberman and Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin. Ehud Olmert, a former prime minister and ex-Likud member, was known to have a season ticket for the team’s home games.Whatever you think about the names mentioned above, cheap populism is surely not the angle you will miss where these names are concerned. And this is where populism and the rabble-rousers usually end up:
A sign reading “Beitar forever pure” was held aloft by fans of Jerusalem’s largest soccer club on Saturday — the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day — as they protested the owner’s weekend decision to sign two Muslim players.Pure... right, as an overflowing colostomy bag. But, of course, it will be a grave omission to pass over the two other names: Michael Ben Ari and Aryeh Eldad. Where rabble-rousers are concerned, these two are easily taking the lead - not that they are alone, a few of the current Likud's own upstarts are providing serious competition. Still, here comes the star: Mr Ben Ari, surrounded by his Beitar buddies:
The attempts of some Beitar-related VIPs - both of politics and of sport - to describe the behavior of the fans as a "small minority of the generally healthy supporters" fall very short of the target. You all are part of the problem, gentlemen. By passively accepting the behavior of the despicable "minority", you are not getting the "get out of jail" card. And passively accepting the problem, responding by token protests and self-justification, you are becoming a part of it, instead of the solution. Your cheap populism has a price, and Beitar fans are only a symptom of the price to pay in the future.
Yes, I know that football tends to attract all kinds of rabble. This, however, is not a consolation, only a confirmation of the need to crack down on our own degenerates.
The only small consolation comes from a quite unexpected direction: in the last elections, the Michael Ben Ari/Aryeh Eldad pair didn't get enough ballots to stay in the Knesset, which is a sign of Israeli voters maturing somewhat (but not enough). Anyhow, good riddance to bad rubbish.
As for Beitar: short of closing this (and, hopefully, all the other) reason for gathering the dregs of society - why not recruit Muslim players only for the foreseeable future? It may teach the fans a lesson. Or not?