Soccer fans at a Hapoel Tel Aviv game on Saturday held up a banner reading “Who isn’t a migrant here?!” as part of a campaign by European soccer clubs to express solidarity with the thousands of refugees in Europe.
The banner, pointing to Israel’s history of absorbing Jewish refugees, came as fans of another Israeli soccer team waved an anti-migrant sign at a different game.
Fans of Maccabi Tel Aviv on Saturday waved a flag with the text “Refugees not welcome,” during a match against Kiryat Shmona, as a response to European football clubs. The text was playing off of the “Refugees welcome” sign that has been spotted at numerous soccer games in Germany in past months.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clarified over the past two weeks that Israel will not absorb refugees from the Syrian civil war, though he stressed that Israel continues to offer medical assistance to Syrians wounded in the war via a field hospital at the border.
אוהדי הפועל ת"א מראים אנושיות במשחק מול מכבי נתניה pic.twitter.com/romSZb8lNu
— Yoav Cohen (@ycohen84) September 12, 2015
Meanwhile, in Germany, young migrants accompanied Bayern Munich players onto the pitch and took center stage to the applause of 75,000 fans before a Bundesliga game on Saturday.
The players each held hands with a German child on one side and a migrant child on the other for what the club described as “a symbol for the integration of refugees.”
Some of the kids waved shyly to the crowd, while others simply soaked it all in, the culmination of trips fraught with danger. The children, whose nationalities were not disclosed, were applauded by fans of Bayern and opponent Augsburg alike.
Bayern, like many German clubs, has offered support to people fleeing war and poverty. The club, among the biggest and richest in Europe, is donating 1 million euros ($1.1 million) to migrant projects, and arranging a training camp to give youths German lessons, meals, and soccer equipment.