In this file picture taken on August 17, 2016 Beitar Jerusalem followers cheer previous to the UEFA Europa League play-off soccer match between Beitar Jerusalem and AS Saint-Etienne, on the Itztadion Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem. AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP
A member of Abu Dhabi’s royal household on Monday purchased half of Beitar Jerusalem, a prime Israeli soccer crew infamous for its anti-Arab fan base, the membership stated.
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan signed a “partnership agreement” with membership proprietor Moshe Hogeg, stated an announcement from Beitar, calling it a “historic and exciting day”.
The settlement comes after Israel established ties with UAE and Bahrain, solely the third and fourth solely Arab nations to normalise relations with the Jewish state after Egypt and Jordan.
Al-Nahyan “purchased approximately 50 percent of Beitar in return for investing 300 millions shekels ($92 million) in the club over 10 years,” the assertion stated.
His son Mohammad will characterize Al-Nahyan on the board of administrators “on all matters pertaining to the club,” it stated.
“We’re marching the club together, all of us, to a new era of coexistence, achievements and fraternity for our club, our community and Israeli sport,” Hogeg stated within the assertion.
Beitar Jerusalem’s followers have traditionally been thought of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab, with their far-right “La Familia” fan group identified for its chants towards the Prophet Mohammed.
The first division membership is the one Israeli aspect by no means to have fielded an Arab participant.
But it has been working to vary its picture lately and in 2017 obtained an award for its struggle towards racism.
Since they normalised ties, each the UAE and Bahrain have signed a raft of offers with Israel, starting from tourism to aviation and monetary providers.
The accords have been condemned by the Palestinians as a “stab in the back”.
Nahyan stated he was “thrilled” by the deal, calling it one of many “phenomenal fruits of peace and fraternity between the nations,” he stated.
He ended the assertion with the membership’s trademark slogan: “Yalla Beitar!”
The deal was brokered by Soviet-born, UAE-based businessman Naum Koen.
In an announcement, he stated the deal confirmed “how peace between leaders seeps in and is translated into real peace between two nations.”
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But not everybody was pleased with the deal.
Shai Elimelech, a longtime Beitar fan, discovered it exhausting to abdomen his crew being partly purchased by “an Arab.”
“Everyone in the league will make fun of us and call us Arabs,” he instructed AFP as he stuffed out a lottery type in a Jerusalem nook store.
“Money isn’t everything in life.”