Hapoel Holon fans attacked by pro-Palestinian protesters in Bilbao

Israeli basketball fans attacked by pro-Palestinian protesters in Spain

Group of Hapoel Holon supporters, including families and children, encountered demonstrators outside game's venue who sang anti-Israel chants and threw objects at them

Alexandra Lukash |
Published: 05.09.22, 19:19
Pro-Palestinian protesters on Sunday attacked a group of Israeli basketball fans on the streets of the Spanish city of Bilbao.
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  • The violent incident took place after fans of Hapoel Holon Basketball Club — who were in Spain to support their team in an away game — walked into a pro-Palestinian demonstration held outside the game's venue.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    Protesters in Bilbao waving the Palestinian flag
    Protesters in Bilbao waving the Palestinian flag
    Hapoel Holon fans attacked by pro-Palestinian protesters in Bilbao
    (Photo: Screengrab)
    At first, the protesters waved Palestinian flags and sang anti-Israel chants, while the Israeli fans responded by singing the national anthem.
    According to the Israeli group, the situation quickly escalated into an all-out brawl after the protesters started chucking objects at the group.
    "We were literally ambushed," said Boaz Yitzhaki, a Hapoel Holon fan who witnessed the skirmishes.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    Protesters in Bilbao waving the Palestinian flag
    Protesters in Bilbao waving the Palestinian flag
    (Photo: Screengrab)
    "We marched to the stadium together. Suddenly, a group of pro-Palestinians started throwing objects at us from a bar decorated with a Palestinian flag.”
    “They threw chairs, glasses and bottles at us. We had families and children with us. It was a very, very scary incident,” said Yitzhaki, who added that while there were police officers standing nearby, their response was slow and ineffective.
    "I have been a fan of [Hapoel Holon] for so many years. We came to have fun, we really did not expect to walk into such a scenario."
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    Protesters in Bilbao waving the Palestinian flag
    Protesters in Bilbao waving the Palestinian flag
    Officers arriving at the scene of the clashes in Bilbao
    (Photo: Screengrab)
    Hapoel Holon Chairman Eitan Lanciano called on Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to intervene: “For several days now, Israeli fans who have come to a sporting event have been suffering from anti-Semitism by pro-Palestinian elements in Bilbao.”
    “[These same elements] are preparing to demonstrate and are calling for people to attend via social media,” Lanciano added.
    “Every meeting with Israelis devolves into expletives accompanied by flying objects. We'll be happy to hear your thoughts on the matter."
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    אוהדי הפועל חולון
    אוהדי הפועל חולון
    Hapoel Holon fans at the game in Bilbao
    (Photo: FIBA)
    MK Yuli Edelstein also responded to the incident: "I am appalled by the manifestations of violence suffered by Hapoel Holon fans from the gangs of Palestinian terrorists in Bilbao.”
    “It is only appropriate for the Spanish government and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to take action on the issue."
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