Soccer hooligans face belated crackdown

Israel’s police chief pledged to crack down on soccer hooligans who rampaged at a Jerusalem mall.

“We will throw the book at everyone who rampaged there,” said Inspector-General Yohanan Danino, referring to Beitar Jerusalem fans who roughed up Arab patrons and staff at the Malha Mall last week.

Israel’s Channel Two television said arrests were expected.

The incidents took place, witnesses said, as hundreds of Beitar fans flooded the mall following a game at nearby Teddy Stadium and chanted “Death to the Arabs!” and other racist slogans for which the soccer club is notorious.

Speaking to Channel Two, Danino rued the slow response of authorities to the incident, which has led to no arrests despite taking place on March 19.

“More could have been done in terms of police work,” he said. “The fact that police are perhaps late in attending to this affair does not mean that we won’t end it like any other affair.” — jta