Political Link of Jerusalem Soccer Teams Essay

Political Link of Jerusalem Soccer Teams Essay

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Jerusalem, a city like none other, possesses holy religious sites and constant social conflict. It is the center of the Arab-Israeli conflict, with members of each group struggling to coexist with the other. 65 years have passed since the declaration of the State of Israel, yet the Arabs and Israelis have not come to terms on any sort of permanent peace agreement. Part of the struggle in Jerusalem, over the years, has been radical groups on each side taking the conflict to new heights. Jihadist organizations such as The Muslim Brotherhood have used terrorism in order to instill fear in the Jews. The Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, in Israel and abroad, has used propaganda and an ultra-conservative lifestyle in order to isolate themselves from the rest of the Jewish population. By doing so, both groups have enabled negative stereotypes to be placed on their respective religions. In the middle of all of this conflict stands professional soccer. Jerusalem and its two professional soccer teams, HaPoel Jerusalem FC and Beitar Jerusalem FC, have been affected and do affect the Arab-Israeli conflict surrounding them. Each team represents a different social group, with different belief systems and political supporters. With so much emphasis placed on the teams, politicians have used each fan base to represent their own party’s beliefs. Beitar Jerusalem has been linked to right-wing anti-Arab groups since its founding, while HaPoel Jerusalem has represented left-wing Israeli workers unions. The prevalent political ties to Jerusalem’s professional soccer teams have only further complicated the already hostile Arab-Israeli conflict.
Starting during the British control of Palestine, political leaders have supported separate soccer teams in ...


... middle of paper ...


...rivalry, and helped me better explain HaPoel Jerusalem’s effect on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Both authors agree that this soccer rivalry has only further complicated the conflict happening in Jerusalem. It has brought a somewhat looming conflict to the homes of everyday Israelis and Arabs. As time progresses, and Israel’s statehood continues to be questioned, the role of the Beitar-HaPoel rivalry will continue to be felt in the Israeli Knesset.



Works Cited

Greenberg, Joel. “Soccer racism raises concern in Israel.” Washington Post, February 11, 2013.
E:60. Episode no. 95, first broadcast 6 November 2012 by ESPN. Directed by Jeremy Schaap.
Tamir Sorek, “Soccer Fandom and Citizenship in Israel,” Middle East Report 245 (2007): 21.
Amir Ben-Porat, “Oh Beitar Jerusalem: The Burning Bush Protest,” The International Journal of the History of Sport 18:4 (2001): 135.

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