Jerusalem soccer team to be renamed ‘Beitar Trump’

Controversial sports team permanently rebrands itself in honor of US president recognizing Israel’s capital and moving embassy

Jerusalem soccer club announces it is changing its name in honor of the US president's recognition of Israels capital. (Facebook, Beitar Jerusalem)
Jerusalem soccer club announces it is changing its name in honor of the US president's recognition of Israels capital. (Facebook, Beitar Jerusalem)

Jerusalem’s largest soccer club announced Sunday that it has changed its name to “Beitar Trump Jerusalem,” in honor of the US president’s recognition of Israel’s capital and moving his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv.

In an announcement on Facebook, the team praised the US president.

“For 70 years has Jerusalem been awaiting international recognition, until President Donald Trump, in a courageous move, recognized Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel,” the club wrote. “President Trump has shown courage, and true love of the Israeli people and their capital, and these days other countries are following his lead in giving Jerusalem its rightful status.”

The announcement comes the day before the official opening of the new embassy in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood, in a ceremony to be attended by US Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan, Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, Adviser Ivanka Trump, and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, as well as ambassadors and officials from all over the world.

The soccer club stated that it was permanently changing its name in honor of the occasion.

“Beitar Jerusalem, one of the most prominent symbols of the city, are happy to honor the president for his love and support with a gesture of our own,” the Facebook post read. “The chairmen of the club, the owner Eli Tabib and the executive manager Eli Ohana have decided to add to the club’s title the name of the American President who made history, and from now on will be called Beitar Trump Jerusalem.”

Beitar, one of Israel’s top soccer clubs, is currently in second place in the premier league.

However, the club has a long history of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment, and is the only club in the Israeli league that has never had an Arab Muslim player. Officials on the team have indicated in the past that it is unofficial policy.

Earlier this year, the club promised to crackdown on racist fans. It also said it would close down the eastern section of its ground which is infamous for housing the club’s most rabid fans, including the ultra-nationalist “La-Familia” faction. Last year, 19 members of the group were charged with attempted murder, including of rival supporters.

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