Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem

From the Times of Israel (by way of follow up to this post):

Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem, the first soccer team in Israel to be owned entirely by its fans, made history on Friday by gaining promotion to Liga Leumit, the National League, Israel’s second division.

A nice piece of good news to start the week with.

Less than six years after being established by a small group of fans, Katamon — with its goal of providing an alternative for Jerusalem’s soccer-loving public, built on fan-power, anti-racism and community outreach — will now take its place in Liga Leumit in the coming season. Its next ambition: making in into the top division — the Israeli Premier League.

You can read it all, here.

The Israeli-Arab version of Billy Bremner

The little giant

The little giant

Kudos again due to the Times of Israel for this cracking, er, grass-roots story of a soccer initiative that cuts across the largely negative picture of Israel served up by most of the Western media. Please do read it all, here.

For the less active web surfers out there, here’s the Billy Bremner stuff, and a bit more about football club Hapoel Katamon:

In sharp contrast, Katamon’s player of the season is Israeli Arab Samir Abed Alhi, a midfield dynamo who is probably the smallest player in the league. But what he lacks in height, he makes up for in passion, fighting for every ball and making incisive passes reminiscent of Leeds United and Scotland captain Billy Bremner in the 1960s and ’70s.

Anti-racist and anti-fascist banners can be seen at every Katamon game. The team’s anthem contains lines praising the hammer and sickle, the symbol of Hapoel, and “The Internationale,” the song of the International Communist Movement.

Katamon also places an emphasis on community outreach and runs a successful school league, bringing together teams from Jerusalem’s Jewish and Arab neighborhoods. Many women and kids come to Katamon games and there are also a fair number of religiously observant supporters, as the club has a policy of not playing games on the Jewish Sabbath.

Don’t say I am not good to you!