Israeli Attitudes To Arabs Fully Exposed
Some Americans might remember the bruhaha when Brooklyn Dodger Baseball Owner Branch Rickey decided to put Jackie Robinson, an African American player on the team. It was April of 1947!
Read about it here.
The same thing is now happening in Israel. Last year, Beitar Jerusalem, a major Israeli soccer team hired Ali Mohamed, a Muslim from Niger to the team. It was controversial to say the least.
The Holland Sentinel carried the story in its Wednesday, December 30, 2020, edition. Josef Federman, Associated Press article Here
Moshe Hogeg is the owner of Beitar. Now, because of the “normalization” between Israel and the UAE, Hogeg has sold half of the team to Sheikh Hamad Al-Nahyan, the wealthy Arab leader from the UAE.
They want to show “everyone that Muslims and Jews can work together and build beautiful things together.” Hogeg and Al-Nahyan intend to recruit A-class Arab players to “upgrade the level of our team.”
Hard-core supporters are aghast. They include Likud Prime Minister Netanyahu and the working-class fans that champion the purity of the Jewish nation. Jews like Avigail Sharabi, wonder how an Arab player can wear the team’s Jewish logo and sing the Israeli national anthem yearning for a Jewish homeland. Will those who object be out-shouted by those who support multi-ethnic players?
Will “normalization” with surrounding Arab nations lead to a change of attitude and behavior toward Israel’s Arab neighbors? Will Arab Israelis (20% of the population), seek greater integration and greater “rights” in the Israeli State?
There was a brief period when African-Americans were being elected to Congress following the Civil war. In 1871, Joseph Rainey was the first person of African descent to be elected to the House of Representatives, from South Carolina. In a speech on the House floor in February of 1875, Mr. Rainey said, “We do not intend to be driven to the frontier as you have driven the Indian. Our purpose is to remain in your midst as an integral part of the body-politic” (Smithsonian magazine, January/February, p. 64 and 65).
Arab Israelis have representation in the Israeli Knesset (the ruling body). Some seek greater integration into Israeli society. Others still seek recognition in a State of their own.
Will sport provide an example for Israelis and Palestinians to change its ways? The times they are a-changing!
John Kleinheksel, KWM Board Member