Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Anti-Israel Protesters Attack Maccabi Haifa Players in Austria

During the Israeli squad’s training match against Lille, pro-Palestinian demonstrators invaded the field

By: Daniel Koren

Published: July 24th, 2014 in Sports » Israel

Anti-Israel Protesters Attack Maccabi Haifa Players in Austria

During Wednesday’s training match in Austria against Lille (a city in Northern France), Maccabi Haifa players were attacked and physically confronted by a group of anti-Israel demonstrators (mostly Turkish immigrants) who invaded the pitch.

The incident, as depicted in the below video, is the latest in a series of anti-Semitic incidents that have been plaguing Europe and alienating its once prosperous Jewish community.

The attack took place in the 86th minute of the match, after which officials ended the game.

The Israeli players left their dressing room an hour after the time ended under protection, as many of the protesters waited outside the stadium.

Once in the stadium, the protesters attempted to attack Yossi Benayoun, the Israeli team’s national captain, as well as other members of club.

The Israeli coach eventually entered the pitch in a bid to protect his players.

Security forces eventually cleared the protesters, and none of the Israeli players were injured, though, according to defender Samuel Scheimann, one of them was carrying a pocket knife.

“We experienced an uncomfortable atmosphere of violence on the pitch and in the stands,” Maccabi Haifa wrote in an official statement. “The attack was premeditated and dangerous in light of the incitement in Turkish media. (The protesters) were mostly Turkish immigrants.”

The attack comes days after pro-Gaza protests in France (which the country has banned in an attempt to stem violence) turned ugly, as synagogues were attacked, and stores broken into.

On Wednesday, thousands of demonstrators again marched through Paris, though this time in a legal protest, carrying signs that read “Boycott Israel” and “Israel Murderer.”

Several European leaders have since condemned the wave of anti-Semitic hatred that has taken place over the last two weeks, particularly in France, which boasts the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in western Europe.

Yesterday, at a cafe in Belgium, a pro-Palestinian owner posted a “No Jews Allowed” sign on its window. On the other side of the world in Thornhill, Ontario, a swastika, accompanied by a harsh message (“F–k Israel”) was spray-painted on a bus shelter.

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