JERUSALEM – An Israeli soccer club with an unofficial tradition of not signing Arab or Muslim players is welcoming two Muslim-Chechen players amid rising tensions from its fans.
Beitar Jerusalem's fans, known for being anti-Muslim, chanted anti-Muslim slogans at a game last week and unfurled a sign protesting the arrival of Zaur Sadayev and Gabriel Kadiev. Three fans were arrested for the behavior.
At a news conference Wednesday, Sadayev said he was "happy" to join the team. Kadiev says he's "not afraid" of threats from fans.
Jerusalem's mayor attended the news conference, highlighting the gravity of the fans' behavior.
Police beefed up security at a game Tuesday when Beitar played a team from an Arab town. Beitar's next game is Sunday.