Friday, March 23, 2007

Own Goals: can football unite the Israelis?


As the Barmy Army of English football fans descends on Tel Aviv's Sportek for the Euro 2008 qualifier this Saturday, sportsmanlike conduct comes under scrutiny on and off the pitch. Racist chants definitely will be monitored.
Die-hard Israeli footy fans were hoping that the general strike might prevent the Brits from landing at the airport, making an extra 5000 tickets magically available. And some newly arrived British Jews still agonize over which side to support in such a momentous match. Is dual allegiance possible? Even after making the total commitment of Aliyah, by moving from the farflung Diaspora to start over in the Jewish homeland, these guys fear flunking the old Thatcherite Norman Tebbit test about loyalty to an adopted country.
Going beyond the standard sports mania and navel-gazing, the Independent's correspondent, Don Macintyre, takes another angle altogether. He examines the loyalties of the 1.4 million Arab-Israelis, of which only two (including the veteran player Walid Badir, pictured above) will play for their nation tomorrow night. Click here to read his thought-provoking piece.

1 comment:

Brittania said...

Scoreless draw, nil-nil, yet most Israelis are taking this as a "miracle win" over the English team. Go figure