Popular Jerusalem soccer team Beitar Yerushalayim has new owners – American businessmen Dan Adler and Adam Levin. The team had struggled in recent years after being neglected by previous owner, Russian businessman Arcadi Gaydamak.
Gaydamak initially led the team to success, but had abandoned the team, along with other investments, while battling financial crisis and court cases.
Beitar, which had won the league championship in 2007 and 2008, fell to the point where it narrowly escaped being forced from the league this year. Sports site One said the club has debts of $400,000.
A statement from Beitar said Adler and Levin had purchased the team “as a contribution to strengthen Jerusalem and Israel, rather than business investment.” The two are long-term supporters of Israel, team managers said.
Levin is a managing director of the Criterion Capital Partners equity fund and CEO of Bebo, a social media company. Adler heads a consulting firm. Adler is also a member of the Israel Policy Forum, a group which supports the creation of a Palestinian Authority-led Arab state in Judea and Samaria.
His politics stand in contrast to those of many Beitar fans, who are known for their right-wing views. Fans have previously created controversy by booing slain Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and later jeering at then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
But for the moment, Beitar is pleased with Adler and his partner. “This is a happy moment for the club and its fans,” Beitar spokesman Assaf Shaked told Globes. “We have been through a difficult period recently.”