Tel Aviv (dpa) – The new partner in Israeli football club Beitar Jerusalem wants to make the club an example of the peaceful interaction between Israelis and Arabs.
“Our door is open to everyone,” said Sheikh Hamad bin Chalifa al-Nahjan, who will take over the 50 percent of the association’s shares in Dubai. “We want to be a role model and show that Jews and Muslims can work together.”
Parts of the Beitar Jerusalem fan scene are considered very right-wing. In the past, they had repeatedly provoked outrage with racist attacks, especially against Arabs. Sometimes the slogan “Death to all Arabs” sounded at play. The top of the association under the owner Mosche Hogeg tries to counter this.
Al-Nahjan rejected fears of reaction from the Beitar fan scene when Arab players were accepted. The racist parts of the fan base are “brainwashed deluded youth”. He joined the club to “develop it and take it to the next level”. Sheikh Hamad is a businessman related to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the de facto President of the United Arab Emirates.
Israel and the Emirates decided to establish diplomatic relations in August. The emirates left the line of Arab countries to refuse relations with Israel until the conflict with the Palestinians is resolved. In return for the rapprochement, Israel announced that it would suspend the annexation of areas in the West Bank that the Palestinians claim for their own state.