Beitar Jerusalem, one of Israel’s most popular soccer teams, wants to change its name in a gesture of appreciation to US President Donald Trump who, “in a courageous move, recognized Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel.”
Beitar “Trump” Jerusalem Photo Credit: Facebook Screenshot/F.C. Beitar
Ahead of the US embassy’s contraversial move to Jerusalem, members of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team have found a creative way to thank US President Donald Trump for his support. The squad announced earlier today (Sunday) their intention to add ‘Trump’ to the team’s official name.
According to a post on Beitar Jerusalem’s Facebook page, Jerusalem had waited long enough- 70 years to be precise- for international recognition, and President Trump was the one to finally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “President Trump has shown courage, and true love of the Israeli people and their capital,” read the post, “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. We have the greatest love for the President, and it will win!”
While no official request has been submitted thus far, the Israel Football Association has already said that changing the team’s name is against the rules; a team can only be named after someone deceased.
Responses to the announcement in Israel have been mixed. Some supporters were shocked to hear that the squad would so readily ‘desecrate’ the ‘holy’ name of the team. One commenter responded that while they respected President Trump, there were local heroes, like Ze’ev Jabotinsky or Menachem Begin, who were more deserving of the honor. Soccer fans from around the world also took to Twitter to express their shock, some calling it a belated April Fool’s joke.
Beitar Jerusalem, whose supporters are generally known to lean towards Israel’s political right, has for years been dealing with a racism problem. The team has never hired an Arab player and one fan club associated with the team called “La Familia” has publicly and violently attacked Israeli Arabs.