Basketball / Holon to Face Tribunal Today

Hapoel Holon will face a disciplinary hearing at the Israel Basketball Association today, in the wake of the throwing of a firecracker by a fan identified with the club at its game against Hapoel Jerusalem at Malha Arena last week. Three judges, as opposed to the usual two, will preside.

Shuki Kramer, the IBA's legal adviser, said last week that he would demand Holon be severely punished, and it looks like it is his intention to propose that the club play its Premier League home games for the rest of the season without fans and that it pay a fine of $475,000. Hapoel Holon will be represented by Rami Bloomenfeld.

Holon will claim at the hearing that Yossi Malakh, who has been indicted for throwing the firecracker, is not a fan of the club, but instead belongs to the gang that attempted to disrupt Sunday night's Maccabi Tel Aviv-Hapoel Jerusalem game, and was stopped by police. Holon will also present letters it sent to the IBA last year in which it complained about threats and disturbances on the part of fans against the club and its owner, Mickey Dorsman, and that it provided a warning about the concern for loss of human life.

An indictment was filed against two suspects yesterday in the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court for the firecracker incident a week and a half ago.

According to the indictment, Nir Reuven, an 18-year-old from Ramat Gan, lit the firecracker a few minutes before the end of the game, and Malakh, 20 and also from Ramat Gan, threw it onto the basketball court.

As a result of the firecracker's explosion, security guard Yoav Glitzenstein, who attempted to get the firecracker off the court, lost two of his fingers when it ignited, and also was injured in his waist by shrapnel.

The suspects have been charged with carrying a weapon and causing grievous bodily harm. According to the indictment, after Reuven and Malakh were arrested, they coordinated their versions of the events in order to conceal evidence and obstruct the investigation. In addition, according to the indictment, the two used a cell phone they smuggled into the holding cell to call their family and others.

Malakh is accused of calling his mother and asking her to remove from his room a bag with unknown contents, as he feared a police search of his house. The two have also been charged with obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence.

The Jerusalem District Attorney's Office is also asking that Malakh be charged with intimidation and misleading the investigation as a result of two incidents after his arrest.

On November 12, when he was brought for his custody hearing to the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, he answered reporters' questions by saying, "I am a right-wing extremist; I will f--- all of you."

On November 15, during the police investigation, Malakh called another fan who allegedly was responsible for identifying him as the one who threw the firecracker a "snitch," in order to instill fear.