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Beitar Jerusalem fans chant Yigal Amir's name
Fans of capital's 1st place soccer team begin booing after announcer mentions anniversary of Rabin's assassination. 'Shameful behavior cannot be ignored,' MK Pines-Paz says

Beitar Jerusalem fans chanted slogans praising Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir, during a ceremony held before the soccer team's away game against Maccabi Haifa on Sunday.

 

The ceremony began with a moment of silence for a Maccabi Haifa youth team player and a fan who were murdered last week. The announcer at the Kiryat Eliezer stadium then mentioned on the load speaker system that "12 years ago today Yitzhak Rabin was murdered", at which point the Beitar fans began to boo, with some calling out "Yigal Amir, Yigal Amir".

 


Beitar fans at Kiryat Eliezer stadium. (Photo: Eli Elgarat)

 

Beitar's management issued a statement condemning the fans' conduct. "Those who called out against Rabin are apparently unfamiliar with the slain PM's efforts and what he did for the State of Israel," it said. "We are ashamed that such fans are in our midst. They give the rest of the fans a bad name."

 

Knesset Member Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) said he would call for a special plenum hearing to discuss the incident. "The fans' shameful behavior cannot be ignored, particularly on the anniversary of Rabin's murder," he said.

 

Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer turned to the Israel Football Association (IFA) and demanded that Beitar Jerusalem be penalized for its fans' conduct.

 

"There is no other choice but to take disciplinary action against the team following this disgraceful incident," he said.

 

The IFA said later that the 1st place soccer team will in fact face disciplinary action. 

 

Meretz-Yahad Chairman MK Yossi Beilin called on Science, Culture and Sport Minister Raleb Majadele Sunday to suspend any government funding the team may be receiving.

 

Beilin also asked Majadele to look into banning Beitar from first-division games.

 

The match ended in a scoreless draw.

 

Ahiya Raved contributed to this report

 

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