The room of Beitar Jerusalem’s building superintendent Meir Harush in the soccer team’s training grounds in the capital was set on fire early Friday .
The room contained team paraphernalia including trophies, championship plates, special team shirts and other memorabilia.
An initial Fire Servicesinvestigation points to arson. Jerusalem’s Fire Services spokesman Assaf Abers said serious damage was caused to the site.
“At about 5 am we received a call about a fire at the Beitar Jerusalem offices, apparently made by a patrol officer who had heard the fire alarm go off,” Avers said. “Two teams arrived at the scene and put out the fire. We are investigating the matter.
Harush himself was devastated after learning of the damage. “They burned Beitar’s history. How can anyone do such a thing? It’s appalling.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response that he “opposes violence by those who protest the integration of Chechen players into the team. This is shameful behavior.”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat also commented on the incident and said that “the perpetrators are not fans, but simply criminals. This act is reminiscent of the mafia.” A special police investigation has been launched into the event.
On Thursday, Jerusalem District Police chief Yossi Pariente, Deputy Attorney General Eli Abarbanel and Beitar Jerusalem’s managers discussed ways of fighting racism ignited by the signing of two Muslim players from Chechnya.