I know that racism exists in sports but I didn’t know how bad it was for some soccer teams. On Feb. 12, ESPN aired a documentary shot in Nov. 2012 that exposed Israel’s racist soccer club and the backlash its fans displayed when the Beiter Jerusalem soccer team signed two Muslim players Zaur Sadayev and Gabriel Kadiev.
This is apparently nothing new. Beiter Jerusalem fans have been linked to racism and violence for the past 15 years.
While watching the documentary, I was appalled when I read what was in the subtitles. I heard the Beitar Jerusalem fans chanting and when translated, the subtitles read, “Death to Arabs.”
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, I saw a clip that showed small children sitting on the shoulders of adults, yelling out chants and racial slurs like, “I hate all the Arabs.”
No one should have to go through such humiliation, nor should the children be raised like that.
At 5 a.m. on Feb. 8, four days before the documentary was aired, the offices of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team were set ablaze. The cause of the fire: fans acting out over the signing of the two new Muslim players.
Most of the ire has been directed toward general manager Itzik Kornfein of the Israeli soccer team. Kornfein has spoken out forcefully against racism and said that he will not stop having a diverse team. To that, I say all the power to you.
Kadiev made his debut for the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team on Sun. Feb. 10, despite fearing that he might be targeted by racist fans. But instead he heard more fans cheering when he entered the game, and was given a standing ovation.
I feel that Kornfein is on the right direction. This man has caught my eyes and could spark something in the world. I think that it’s time that we put racism behind us. I mean hey, maybe the fans in Israel will come to their senses and follow suit. They should grow up and start acting like adults. Otherwise, the world will always be divided.