Israeli documentary about controversial soccer fan club nabs Emmy

October 4, 2018 by Mara Vigevani - TPS
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“Forever Pure”, an Israeli documentary about the controversial Beitar Jerusalem’s hardcore fan club, known as La Familia, won an Emmy Award in the Outstanding Politics & Government Documentary category on Monday night.

Photo by TPS on 2 October, 2018

In her documentary, Director Maya Zinshtein portrays the 2012-2013 season of Beitar, during which time the team’s Russian-Israeli oligarch owner Arcadi Gaydamak signed two Muslim players from Chechnya, Zaur Sadayev and Dzhabrail Kadiyev, to play for Beitar.

Gaydamak’s decision divided the fans, some of whom did not like having Muslim athletes on their team. Unlike other Israeli soccer clubs, Beitar had never employed a non-Jewish player. La Familia’s reaction to the new players demoralized the team, leading to a terrible season, in which the team sometimes played in near-empty stadiums. Gaydemak was forced to hire bodyguards to protect the Muslim players that were eventually kicked off the team.

The title of the documentary, Forever Pure,  refers to a banner held up by La Familia meaning  free of non-Jews, racially pure.

“Forever Pure tells a much broader story, than that of Beitar,“ Maya Zinshtein, the film’s director told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) from Zurich, where she is a judge at the Zurich International Film Festival, “it tells how racism of a small group of people can break down a whole society. It is a good example of how extremists can take the control of the majority, it is a very present-day movie for the Israeli society,” she added.

Beitar, which was later sold to Eli Tabib and then to entrepreneur Moshe Hogeg, has been trying to address the issue of its racist fan club. In August, Hogeg declared that religion would no longer be a criterion for signing players.

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