What is the Yerushalam dispute

First of all, the report from the most recent game with the result that really counts: 0-0 - not a single injured person on either side, not a stone toss, not a drop of blood. Because four goals were scored on top of that and Beitar Jerusalem and the Arab club Bnei Sachnin finally split peacefully 2-2 after 90 minutes, it was a decent football evening for the spectators, the police and the politicians. But the next game is always the hardest, and the football war in Jerusalem is likely to continue to rage.

What goes on around the Teddy-Kollek stadium of the local club Beitar has nothing to do with sport for a long time. It's about racism on the grass and in the stands, and the most recent exchange of blows started two weeks ago. The very rich club owner Arkady Gaydamak of Russian descent announced that he would sign two players from Chechnya, the 23-year-old striker Zaur Sadayev and the 19-year-old defender Jabrai Kadijew from Terek Grozny. No messis, but not a bad catch either.

The two are considered talents, they were cheap on top of that, and the team from Jerusalem can certainly use reinforcement. The six-time Israeli champions are currently only in a disappointing seventh place in the league. But apart from the club magnate, hardly anyone wanted to be happy about the new signing. The reason: The Chechen footballers are Muslim and that has never happened at Beitar in 77 years of the club's history.

The flames were a beacon

In the next home game all hell broke loose. A banner was unfurled in the stands with the inscription: "Beitar will remain pure forever", and in this case pure means purely Jewish. The response to the Nazi term "judenrein" was the tasteless and historically forgotten addition to a fan riot, which is unique even in Israeli football.

On arrival, the two newcomers had to be protected by the police, Grozny will have seemed tranquil compared to Jerusalem. A squad from the notorious "La Familia" fan club ambushed the players, spat at them and pelted their cars with stones. As a highlight, the club headquarters in Beitar went up in flames at the weekend. It was arson, and the fire also killed valuable trophies and historic jerseys.

The flames were a beacon, an outcry has raged across the country ever since. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday warning against violence and racism in the club, of which he counts himself as a supporter. Such extremism must be "rooted out of the public and the world of sport". President Shimon Peres had previously written to the Israel Football Association calling for action.