June 21, 2024


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Emirati Investor Acquires Stake in Israeli Soccer Team Known for Anti-Arab Fans

An Emirati investor has acquired a fifty{79e59ee6e2f5cf570628ed7ac4055bef3419265de010b59461d891d43fac5627} stake in a popular Israeli soccer club that is identified for a group of racist, anti-Arab followers, one particular of the 1st high-profile offers given that Israel and the United Arab Emirates normalized relations in September.


Hamad bin Khalifa al Nahyan,

who describes himself on his web page as a member of the Abu Dhabi royal household, is investing at least $90 million about the up coming ten years for the stake in Beitar Jerusalem, in accordance to the two sides in the deal.

“We want to established an instance to each nations that Jews and Muslims can perform jointly,” Sheikh Hamad claimed Wednesday in a push convention with the team’s co-proprietor

Moshe Hogeg,

a cryptocurrency entrepreneur.

Sheikh Hamad claimed the order was a own financial investment and that the U.A.E. governing administration wasn’t included.

The acquisition represents the 1st major private financial investment by an Emirati into Israel just after the two nations founded diplomatic relations that marked a broader realignment in the turbulent Center East.

It also indicates Emirati traders won’t shy absent from possibly controversial moves with Israeli organization companions.

Beitar Jerusalem followers cheered during a 2016 match in Jerusalem.


abir sultan/Shutterstock

In a soccer league stuffed with Jewish and Arab players, Beitar Jerusalem has by no means experienced an Arab participant on its roster and some of its extremist followers generally sing racist chants at video games, these as “death to the Arabs.”

In 2013, makes an attempt to deliver two Muslim players from Chechnya proved much too progressive for a modest but fiery portion of the admirer foundation. The players immediately remaining the squad just after a torrent of heckling and protests.

Mr. Hogeg and followers of the club say these racists make up a little portion of the team’s admirer foundation, and the team has worked hard to root out these actions.

Sheikh Hamad and Mr. Hogeg claimed their deal is portion of a transformation of the team, creating it additional open to non-Jewish players and looking for to deliver it to prominence on the global stage.

Component of the deal will see the generation of a new board of directors for the team, with Sheikh Hamad’s son, Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa, representing the pursuits of his father in the administration.

Beitar Jerusalem’s group of hard-core followers, identified as La Familia, have protested towards the sale. Associates of La Familia spray-painted obscene slogans towards the sale on the outer partitions of the entrance to the club’s stadium.

Sheikh Hamad explained La Familia as a group of misled and brainwashed youth.

“I consider they are on the dark facet. I consider we must extend our hand to them and show them the mild,” he claimed.

A spokesman for Sheikh Hamad claimed he emerged this calendar year as a community investor just after consolidating his investments into a private workplace and individual keeping firm.

The Abu Dhabi media workplace declined to comment on regardless of whether Sheikh Hamad, who until finally earlier this calendar year experienced just about no community profile, is a member of the royal household. The U.A.E. overseas ministry claimed it does not comment on private investments. When requested about his household track record at the push convention, Sheikh Hamad declined to react, and directed reporters to Wikipedia.

Mr. Hogeg, who touted the sale as “the 1st authentic fruit of the peace agreement,” claimed he was related to his new Emirati organization lover by way of an Israeli intermediary who realized an Emirati operating with Sheikh Hamad.

Produce to Rory Jones at [email protected]

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