U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem defies international law, however, that has not hindered his popularity in Israel.
In fact, some polls suggest Trump is far more popular in Israel than in his own country.
Therefore, in light of the inauguration of the new embassy, Jerusalem's most popular soccer team decided to honor the U.S. president by renaming itself after him.
Beitar Jerusalem will now be known as "Beitar Trump Jerusalem."
“For 70 years has Jerusalem been awaiting international recognition, until President Donald Trump, in a courageous move, recognised Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel,” the soccer club stated on its official Facebook page.
“President Trump has shown courage, and true love of the Israeli people and their capital, and these days other countries are following his lead in giving Jerusalem its rightful status ... The chairmen of the club, the owner Eli Tabib and the executive manager Eli Ohana have decided to add to the club’s title the name of the American President who made history, and from now on will be called Beitar Trump Jerusalem.”
It's not known if the change is permanent or temporary.
It is important to note here that while Beitar quite popular, its fanbase is notorious for its brazenly racist behavior. They have shouted “death to Arabs” at several matches. In fact, in August 2016, at least 19 members of the club's most radical fans, collectively known as the "La Familia" group, were charged with attempted murder, including of supporters of rival clubs. Things got to a point that the club had to announce if fans did not stop singing racist songs, the team would leave the pitch.
In January, Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev attended a game between Bnei Sakhnin, Israel's only Arab soccer club, and Beitar Jerusalem and posted a video of herself smiling at a soccer match, surrounded by fans who are belting out racist, genocidal chants.
Judging by the timing of the soccer club's announcement, — just a couple of days before the inauguration of the U.S. embassy — the move comes across as an obvious attempt toward stroking Trump's ego. (It is a well-documented fact he likes to put his name on things, be it hotels or steaks.)
Trump backs Israel's undivided claim over Jerusalem, even as the international community does not. The embassy move also solidifies the Israeli occupation and gives the government the green light to act more aggressively in expelling Palestinians from Jerusalem, and thereby igniting further violence and tension.
Since 1967, Israel has displaced over 14,000 Palestinians living in Jerusalem, and over time, 28,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in the occupied territory. Between 2004 and 2015, over 2,000 people, half of whom were minors, were left homeless because of Israel's destruction of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem.
However, Trump decided to reward Israel, nevertheless, and, so, the Israeli soccer club decided to honor Trump in return.
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