Police probe Beitar anti-Arab riot

March 29, 2012
Beitar fans are known for their racist chanting

Beitar fans are known for their racist chanting

Israel's Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino vowed on Sunday to prosecute those responsible for the mayhem last week when hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem fans ran wild in a shopping mall, chanting anti-Arab songs and allegedly attacking several of the mall's Arab employees.

Mr Danino also admitted that police made some mistakes in how the incident had been handled in the Malha mall, following reports from security staff that the fans, mostly teenagers, rioted for some 40 minutes before officers arrived.

National police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that, as of Tuesday, police had received no formal complaints of violence and were examining the mall's CCTV footage to determine what happened. In one video posted online, a large crowd of Beitar fans can be seen in the mall's food court holding signs saying "Death to the Arabs" and "I hate all Arabs".

The incident followed a 2-1 victory over Tel Aviv's Bnei Yehuda FC at the adjacent Teddy Stadium, named after long-time Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek.

Beitar Jerusalem supporters are associated with Israeli right-wing politics, and chants of "Death to the Arabs" are routine at the club's matches. The team's owners are alleged to have an unwritten rule not to sign Arab players in compliance with the sentiments of some of the team's supporters.

Last updated: 1:31pm, March 29 2012