Israeli soccer club renames itself Beitar Trump Jerusalem in honor of US president | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 13.05.2018
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Israeli soccer club renames itself Beitar Trump Jerusalem in honor of US president

An Israeli soccer club has renamed itself after US President Donald Trump. Beitar Trump Jerusalem announced the name change on the eve of the formal opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem.

Beitar Jerusalem Football Club Fans (picture-alliance/AP Photo/B. Armangue)

The Beitar Jerusalem fan's tattoo reads: "I have set watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day nor night."

Israeli top-flight soccer team Beitar Jerusalem announced on Sunday that it would rename itself after US President Donald Trump.

The club said in a statement that the move came as a thank you for Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The US is slated to formally open its new embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

Read more: Israel marks Jerusalem Day with flowers and flags

"For 70 years Jerusalem has been awaiting international recognition, until President Donald Trump, in a courageous move, recognized Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel," the club said in a statement. "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."

Beitar Jerusalem is perhaps best known internationally for its contingent of fans who make up the nationalist La Familia group. Those supporters openly express their hatred of Arabs and praise the fact that Beitar Jerusalem is the only club in the Israeli top division to have never had an Arab player on its books. The club has tried, unsuccessfully, to quell their fans' racist behavior, having faced several fines and sanctions because of it. 

Read more: Jerusalem: US Embassy inauguration divides the city

Beitar Jerusalem Football Club Fans (picture-alliance/dpa/A. Sultan)

Beitar Jerusalem's "La Familia" fans have a history of racism and violence.

Read more: Palestinian Territories: Unraveling the knots

Jerusalem set for US Embassy opening ceremony

Trump broke with several decades of US Middle East policy last December by formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The move prompted outrage among Palestinians and other Arab nations, and led to several protests and clashes in and around the Israeli-occupied territories. Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Trump will not be attending the Jerusalem embassy opening on Monday. He will instead speak to ceremony attendees via video link. Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, will be among the US delegates in attendance.

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