09 August 2015
Israel is struggling with how to deal with groups, some of which are underground, that are linked to a banned nationalist political party that has emerged at the core of recent racist, anti-Palestinian incidents and include a militant football fan group that was responsible for last month’s violent clashes during a Europa League qualifier in Belgium between Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem and Charleroi SC.
Two government investigations of Beitar and La Familia, its notorious fan group that openly supports Kach, the banned party founded by Meir Kahane, an extremist rabbi who was assassinated in 1990, took on added significance after Israel’s internal security service, Sherut Ha’Bitachon Ha’Klali or General Security Service (Shin Bet), this week said it had no grounds to ban another Kach support group, Lechava, as a terrorist organisation.
Shin Beit’s decision and the investigations have moved centre stage amid recent racist and discriminatory attacks, such as the firebombing of a Palestinian home that killed an 18-month-old baby and critically wounded his parents and four-year-old brother, as well as the stabbing of participants in a gay parade by an ultra-religious repeat offender. There have as also been allegations that Israel discriminates against its dark-skinned Jewish citizens, particularly those who trace their roots to the Horn of Africa.
… James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Würzburg and the author of the blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, and a forthcoming book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 11/08/2015