Players and fans of the youth soccer team of the Negev Bedouin town of Tel Sheva turned a game between their team and Hapoel Merhavim into a violent nightmare Thursday.
The game was sportive as long as the Arab team led 1-0. The trouble began when Merhavim evened the score in a free kick. A Tel
Sheva player did not like this turn of events, and struck the referee
in the head. The referee, in response, decided to stop the match and
blew his whistle.
At this point, dozens of Tel Sheva fans swarmed onto the field and began severely beating the Hapoel players.
"Everyone got beat up, it was really frightening, 200 people jumped on us,” wrote a Merhavim player on Facebook.
Another player was quoted in Ynet as saying: “After the equalizing goal, we ran to the coach and
hugged him, and then I saw an intifada. One of their players took off
his shirt and began beating the referee, and this caused a reaction by
the crowd, from outside. The fans jumped over the fences and ran toward
us. A player kicked our coach, there were chains flying until the police
came and stopped the violence. These were 15 minutes that seemed like
"We got rocks and chairs thrown in our faces. This thing lasted 15
minutes. Fifteen minutes in which I wasn't sure I'd be returning to my
family. And now, I ask, why does this always happen in games with Arabs?
Why does violence enter into sports?," the player who scored the goal
asked on Facebook. "I hope the people who need to see this will see it,
and that this doesn't happen again. Tel Sheva needs to be off the soccer
fields, and the Soccer Federation shouldn't sponsor them."
One player, Elad Dimri, reportedly suffered a broken arm. Other players reportedly suffered broken teeth. Police have launched an investigation.