Analysis |

Buying Jerusalem Soccer Club, Emiratis Have Just Invested in Israel's Ruling Class

Known for its exuberantly anti-Arab fanbase, Beitar Jerusalem remains scarred by its past as Israel's underdog. But trust an Emirati billionaire to know where to place his bet: Beitar now represents the Israeli elite

Anshel Pfeffer
Anshel Pfeffer
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Anshel Pfeffer
Anshel Pfeffer

The irony in the sale of 49 percent of the ownership of Beitar Jerusalem to Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, an Emirati billionaire and member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, can be easily summarized in one sentence: the only major soccer club in Israel to never have fielded an Arab player now has an Arab owner. But the historic and political symbolism of the deal goes way beyond irony and the comeuppance of Beitar’s “Forever Pure” racist supporters. It is the culmination of an 85-year journey for the team that represented the historic underdogs of the Zionist enterprise.

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