An Israeli youth soccer match ended in violence as fans of a Bedouin Arab team attacked the players from a Jewish team in revenge for ‘tying the score’.

Israeli and Palestinian children meet for a soccer match sponsored by the Peres Center for Peace

A joint Israeli-Palestinian soccer match. (Peres Center for Peace)

An Israeli youth soccer match ended in violence as fans of the Arab Tel Sheva team attacked the Jewish Hapoel Merhavim for tying the score in a free kick. One of the players suffered a broken arm, while several others have broken teeth after being attacked by nearly 200 Tel Sheva fans.

The Bedouin team held a 1-0 lead until a player from Hapoel scored a goal during a free kick. A Tel Sheva player or fan, it is not yet clear which, responded by attacking one of the referees. The referee then blew the whistle to end the game. When that happened, Tel Sheva fans swarmed the field to attack the Hapoel players.

The Hapoel member who scored the goal wrote on Facebook, “What I saw with my eyes was an intifada. 130 people + the players from Tel Sheva…they threw rocks at us and beat us. I was not sure if I would return to my family..Why is it that every time this happens to us it’s in matches against Arabs? Why does violence enter into sport?”

The head of the Merhavim Regional Council, Shai Hajaj, said, “We are talking about an extremely serious incident. The parents of the players have been updated and the youngsters are currently receiving medical treatment. The team’s coach is currently bringing a complaint to the Ofekim Police.

This outrageous attack comes just as the Palestinian Authority is aggressively trying have Israel kicked out of international football (FIFA).

By Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel