We are a group of international students living in Jerusalem deeply disturbed by the racism that has recently manifested itself in a series of violent incidents involving the Beitar Jerusalem soccer fans.
On March 19, hundreds of Beitar fans stormed the Malha mall in Jerusalem, violently assaulting Arab workers while chanting racist slogans including “Death to Arabs.” The Jerusalem Police took almost an hour to arrive on scene. During that time the violence continued, and no arrests were made until Haaretz reported the story days later. To this date, only sixteen fans have been arrested. Of these, six have been banned from future soccer matches and none have been charged with a criminal offense in spite of the footage available from the mall’s security cameras clearly documenting the mob’s violence.
On April 15th, Beitar Jerusalem fans marched through Jerusalem, chanting anti-Arab slogans which again included “Death to Arabs,” on their way to a home game. A 50 year-old Israeli woman who objected to their racist slogans was beaten, knocked on the head with a flag pole, and repeatedly spat on.
As students of Torah and Jewish values, we are appalled at the actions of the Beitar fans and the inadequate response of the police and the Israel government to these racist actions, which are so horribly reminiscent of the pogroms enacted against Jews throughout history. We believe in a Judaism that upholds the values of equality, dignity and social justice for all people.
With Israel’s national day of Independence upon us, we remember that this State was founded on the promise of ensuring “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.” This State was founded on principles of freedom and justice and as a way to prevent the atrocities that have plagued the Jewish people for thousands of years. With this legacy, how is it the State of Israel will now turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the violent mob which brazenly walks its streets?
Please help us to stand up for justice. Visit http://www.change.org/petitions/israel-police-prosecute-the-perpetrators-of-this-racist-mob-to-the-full-extent-of-the-law and sign our petition.