A top-flight Israeli footbal match was this week blighted after supporters displayed an anti-Semitic sign, accusing fellow fans of being Nazi collaborators.
Hapoel Tel Aviv fans unravelled a banner aimed at Maccabi Tel Aviv supporters during Monday night’s 2-2 draw, which read “Super Joden Rat” – a reference to Jews who collaborated with the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Public figures, politicians and Holocaust survivor organisations expressed outrage over the incident, demanding the highest form of punishment is meted out to those responsible.
Limor Livnat, the Minister of Culture and Sport, has urged police to take stern action against those guilty fans, saying: “Only punishment and enforcement will show that this madness has no place here. Removing those who unfurled the sign is important, but certainly not enough. They need to receive the harshest of punishment.”
Jonny Daniels, Founder & Executive Director of From The Depths, wrote to the Minister of Internal Security, saying: “This evening I was shocked to the depths of my soul, when the game of football team Hapoel Tel Aviv against the city rival Maccabi Tel Aviv, hoisted a huge sign by fans of Hapoel Tel Aviv, with the inscription ‘Super Judenrat.’
“The sign is a truly wicked use of these words, describing the other team as Nazi collaborators, who led many Jews to the death and took an active part in killing them, and burned corpses.
“I know and appreciate the great work that you have done to outlaw these statements describing the Nazis and their collaborators, as is the case in developed countries in Europe.
“During the game I received a barrage of calls, some from Holocaust survivors weeping, that their children and grandchildren are exposed to this horrific content by Jews in Israel.
“I utterly condemn this phenomenon and hope that you, as the son of a Holocaust survivor, immediately turn the police to arrest these criminals from fans and stop it.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv officials condemned the actions, saying the banner wasn’t representative of the club. A spokesman said: “We vehemently denounce the use of signs and phrases that harm the memory of the Holocaust and do not represent Hapoel Tel Aviv and its fans.
“We will continue our efforts to eradicate the phenomenon in collaboration with the team’s fans to make it disappear completely.”