Score draw for Hapoel Be’er Sheva, own goal for boycotters

Score draw for Hapoel Be’er Sheva, own goal for boycotters

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As an act of anti-Israel hatred it has amounted to perhaps the biggest own goal of them all.

At the behest of Arab and other anti-Israel nations, Israel was cast out of the Asian football confederation, no doubt in the hope that Israeli soccer would be consigned to the wilderness.

As a direct result Israel is ensconced as a member of UEFA and its club football in particular goes from strength to strength.

Israeli fans have had the pleasure of welcoming the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United to Israel amongst many of the best clubs in Europe.

And in Southampton last week new heights were reached as the multi-talented and multi-racial Hapoel Be’er Sheva team advanced to the knock out stage of the Europas at the expense of the English Premiership side.

More impressive than the teams on the pitch were the passionate Be’er Sheva fans who didn’t let up for a moment in support of their side, several thousand having travelled from Israel.

And for the second time this season Be’er Sheva played before a packed out stadium in Britain with football fans ignoring calls to boycott the match.

Left in the dark was a small band of Israel haters who decried “Israeli apartheid” while the Israeli team which took to the pitch had Jewish, Arab, African and South American players.

The Southampton fans showed real sportsmanship in the circumstances of their side going out of the competition following the 1-1 draw and many of them saluted the supporters from Israel.

Steven Jaffe is the Grassroots and Advocacy Consultant for the Board of Deputies

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