Soccer / Beitar Jerusalem / New Owner: We're Not Here to Educate

'We're here for the sport and the community, not for politics,' says Dan Adler.

Unlike his predecessor, Arcadi Gaydamak, Dan Adler seems to be a cautious owner who isn't prone to grandiose promises or quick-fire quotes.

"We were made aware of Beitar's situation," Adler tells Haaretz about the circumstances that led to the club's acquisition last week. "We started to go over the facts and figures, and the meeting with Itzik Kornfein was the deciding factor that persuaded us to close the deal. We believe this is an opportunity to do something great for the city and for the State of Israel. We feel honored to play a part in the great history of Jerusalem and of the club. The main reason we came here is that we believe in Jerusalem."

Beitar - Sharon Bukov - 18072011
Sharon Bukov

Some of the fans aren't really impressed with your political views, which seem to be opposed to the club's political affinity.

"I respect every person's opinion, and we're not here to educate or change the fans. Each person should live according to his beliefs. I can tell the fans that we don't have to love each other, but we must respect each other. We're here for sports and for the community, not for politics. I have no interest in Israeli politics and no business plans. My only aim is to get people from the Diaspora closer to the Israeli capital through Beitar. Soccer unites different nations, and our hope is that we can get people around the world to understand Israel, not boycott it. I would love to encourage artists from around the world to perform in Israel and understand what's so special about Israel."

It's not so easy to run a soccer team in Israel. What are your plans for Beitar?

"As long as we're given a fair chance, and some help, we can succeed. We're not here to promote ourselves. Beitar and Jerusalem represent something unique. Beitar deserves the chance to become a worldwide brand, and we hope the media and community will help us achieve this goal."

You must have heard about the millions Arcadi Gaydamak invested.

"Our aim is to make Beitar a huge club, but we won't go overboard. We'll invest sensible sums, and we will keep a close eye on what is done with the money. We trust Kornfein and are positive he will know what to do with the money we're investing. We have no intention of intervening in the daily running of the club, and won't even be spending that much time in Israel. Kornfein is our man and we trust him all the way."

Will you invest enough money to turn the team into a title contender?

"We have to have a long-range plan. We're not here for the short run, and we're not looking for short cuts. Obviously we're not going to be champions in our first season, barring some sort of miracle. The aim this season is to establish a healthy structure and stabilize the club. It's important that we learn how to cooperate with the fans. When I worked for Disney we did wonderful things with much patience and creativity. We want to transform Beitar into a team the whole country will be proud of."