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Israel: Soccer hooligans start racist chants (VIDEO)

Soccer hooligans in Israeli started racist chants in a shopping mall and beat up Arab employees.

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Supporters of the Israeli team Beitar Jerusalem crowded into a Jerusalem ball this week and beat up several Arab employees while shouting racist chants, according to reports from Israeli media. (YouTube)

Supporters of the Israeli team Beitar Jerusalem crowded into a Jerusalem ball this week and beat up several Arab employees while shouting racist chants, according to reports from Israeli media.

Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported that the incident took place on Monday at the Malha shopping center, after a soccer game at the nearby Teddy Kollek Stadium. The soccer fans reportedly assaulted Arab cleaning staff at the mall, and the team leader of the cleaning agency, Mohammed Yusuf, told Ha'aretz, "It was a mass lynching attempt."

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The Guardian said the failure to arrest those responsible has sparked outrage in Israel. The incident involved several hundred supporters, and at least one man who was assaulted was stabbed.

Micky Rosenfeld, an Israel police spokesman, said, "How can we arrest someone when there have been no complaints made? There have been no reports of injuries or that anyone was spoken to in [a racist] way."

Besides chanting anti-Arab slogans and assaulting the cleaners, the fans reportedly harassed Palestinian women and children who were eating at the mall. The mall's private security force was overwhelmed by the estimated 300 troublemakers, according to the Guardian.

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A witness told Ha'aretz, "They stood on chairs and tables and what have you. They made a terrible noise, screamed 'death to the Arabs,' waved their scarves and sang songs at the top of their voices."

Foreign Policy magazine noted that, "Yellow- and black-clad Beitar fans are notorious for their hatred toward Arabs. They frequently chant 'Death to Arabs' during matches, and last year fans recorded themselves teaching racist chants to their children."

The Jerusalem Post reported that Alex Miller, the chairman of the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee proposed a bill that would allow authorities to place rowdy fans under "administrative detention" on Monday, coincidentally, the day of the attack. He said, "To prevent a national tragedy like there was in Egypt, and because violence is on the rise on Israeli soccer fields, we must take very extreme steps against hooligans."

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Here is amateur video footage of the incident at the Malha shopping center, via The New York Times:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/120323/israel-soccer-hooligans-start-racist-c