Beitar soccer fans march in Jerusalem chanting racist slogans, allegedly beat woman
Police are launching an investigation into the attack on 50-year-old Reli Margalit, after being criticized for failing to immediately investigate Beitar fans' attack last month on Arab workers.
Dozens of Beitar Jerusalem soccer fans marched in Jerusalem chanting anti-Arab slogans on their way to a match on Sunday - and beat a woman who objected, the woman said.
Police are launching an investigation into the attack, after being criticized for failing to immediately investigate Beitar fans' attack last month on Arab workers in the capital's Malha Mall.
Reli Margalit, a 50-year-old musician from Jerusalem's Nayot neighborhood, said a fan hit her on the head while they were marching from Sacher Park to Teddy Stadium. Beitar beat Hapoel Acre 1-0 in the Premier League match.
"I heard cries of 'Death to the Arabs,' and since I was still incensed by the Malha Mall attack, I decided that I had to confront them now," she said. "I made a sign reading 'Down with Beitar's racism.' I believed that since I'm not a young woman and since I was alone, at worst it would come to curses, no more."
But it seems Margalit was wrong.
"Within seconds they surrounded me and started spitting at me," she said. "They took away my sign, and one of them - actually an older fan - hit me on the head with the pole of his flag. None of the fans protected me, and one girl showed up and tried to argue with me."
After a few seconds the fans continued on their way.
Margalit said she doesn't regret her action.
"I felt that I did my bit," she said. "They all saw me standing there, and there was one kid who was truly shocked by what he saw."
Margalit lodged a complaint with the police, who said that they escorted the march part of the way and heard chants of support for the club but no racist chants. The police told her they couldn't apprehend her attackers since they melted into the crowd.
Beitar Jerusalem spokesman Assaf Shaked said the team "cannot be responsible to all its supporters' actions."