Supporters | Alienation from society, as sung from Israel’s terraces

In conversation on the Charlie Rose Show on PBS on Dec 31, Ha’aretz columnist Akiva Eldar notes the rising popularity of Yigal Amir, the assassin in 1995 of former Israel prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. Television viewers and spectators at the Maccabi Haifa–Beitar Jerusalem match on 4 Nov 07 heard the evidence loud and clear.

Eldar, in the Dec 31 interview, speaks to Rose across the famous table. Eldar’s comments about Amir come at the 15:15 mark. (18:14)

Beitar supporters, during a pre-game moment of silence to commemorate the 12th anniversary of Rabin’s death, booed Rabin’s name and began to sing songs in praise of Amir. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a Beitar fan, denounced the fans’ actions, as did Beitar management (Matan Krakow, “PM: I’m Beitar Fan, but I Detest Violent Brutes Who Booed Rabin,” Ha’aretz, 5 Nov 07).

Eldar says that the supporters’ reactions reflect “part of the alienation in Israeli society. I think that we are a very divided—we used to be a very interesting mosaic of people who came from all over the world. But Israel has got many, many problems.”

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

Comments (1)

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  1. Ron Megal says:

    Akiva is extreme leftist, so take him with the grain of salt. He is as mainstream as Ralph Nader.

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