IFA finally acts against Beitar’s racist fans

Posted: May 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: racism, The Right | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »
Beitar fans with a "No Arabs" sign. photo: www.one.co.il

Beitar fans with a "No Arabs" sign. photo: www.one.co.il

One of the funniest incidents in the history of Israeli football – which is usually more tragic than comic – happened during a Game between Hapoel Tel aviv and Beitar Jerusalem in 1969. The matches between the two were always tense. Sport clubs in Israel developed as branches of political parties; Hapeol was the Histadrut’s, and therefore the Labor’s team, while Beitar was just what its name declared – the team of Beitar, meaning the old Revisionists, Begin’s Herut and later on, the Likud. So troubles were almost inevitable.

The 1969 game happened to be the biggest game in the short career of Roni Calderon, Hapoel’s brilliant attacker. Calderon scored twice. On the second time, legend has it that he dribbled through Beitar’s defense, passed a few players, then the goalkeeper, only to find himself in front of a Beitar fan – a soldier armed with an Uzi – standing on the goal line. But Calderon – who later escaped a Brazilian prison were he served time for drug offenses, and is still said to be hiding in the Tropics – wasn’t easily intimidated. He scored, the rest of the Beitar crowd stormed the pitch, and thus the game ended.

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