Jerusalem — Fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team are protesting team owner Russian-Israeli tycoon Arkadi Gaydamak’s decision to hire two Muslim players.
Fans on the evening of Jan. 25 during a Premier League game against Bnei Yehuda at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem protested the move to bring two players from the Chechen Terek Gorzny team to Beitar Jerusalem in the coming days.
Three fans were arrested during the game for chanting anti-Muslim slogans. A sign reading “Beitar will be pure forever” was unfurled during the game.
“The two players from Chechnya are coming to Beitar. As far as I’m concerned, there is no difference between a Jewish player and a Muslim player,” Gaydamak told Ynet in an interview.
In March, 2012, hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem fans chanting anti-Arab slogans assaulted Arab workers at a Jerusalem mall following a game. Sixteen fans were arrested; six were banned from future games.