Police Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi has launched an investigation into police conduct during riots which followed Saturday's goalless soccer match between Israel's premier Arab team, Bnei Sakhnin, and Betar Jerusalem at the former's home turf. The very fact that such an investigation has been so quickly mandated is itself an admission that the police may not have handled themselves in sterling fashion.
The 4,000 cheering Sakhnin fans and 350 visiting Jerusalemites doubtlessly arrived with preset agendas. The match underscored ethnic and national hostilities. It began with firecrackers repeatedly hurled by Sakhnin supporters aiming for the Betar goalie, accompanied by rocks, some very sizable.
Bottles were hurled into the Betar stands (no bottles were sold to Betar fans). Shouts of "death to the Jews" quickly elicited retaliatory "death to the Arabs" responses. Flaming torches were lit and held aloft throughout the game in the Sakhnin benches, and one burning torch was lobbed on to the field. Betar fans, not known to be shrinking violets, were attacked and then went on their own rampage.
Tags: Soccer, Israel