Arab Soccer Team Honors Traitor Ex-MK

Foreign Minister Liberman and Sport Minister Livnat condemn Bnei Sakhnin soccer club for honoring former MK Azmi Bishara.

Ben Ariel,

Azmi Bishara
Azmi Bishara
Flash 90

The Bnei Sakhnin soccer team, a team based in the Arab-Israeli city of Sakhnin, located 23 kilometers (14 miles) east of Akko in northern Israel, caused outrage on Saturday night when it honored former MK Azmi Bishara before a game.

Bishara fled to Qatar several years ago, after it was revealed that he had passed information to Hezbollah in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, helping direct their missiles at Israeli citizens.

Bishara is still wanted for questioning in Israel for transmitting information to Hezbollah. Until the 2011 passing of the "Bishara Law," the former MK was still receiving full pension from Israel, getting a total of 500,000 shekels.

In Saturday night’s pre-game ceremony, Bnei Sakhnin presented a certificate of appreciation to several of the team’s sponsors, including the Emir of Qatar and Bishara himself.

The move was slammed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who condemned the team and called on the Israel Football Association to take action against it.

"When a soccer team in the Israeli League thanks someone who is suspected of spying and assisting Hezbollah, who fled the country and incites against Israel, strong measures must be taken against it," he said.

The Israel Football Association, suggested Liberman, “should consider imposing heavy fines and a long period of games without fans in the stands. To the group’s owners, I would suggest considering moving to play in the Palestinian League or the Qatari League.”

Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat condemned Bnei Sakhnin’s actions as well, saying the honoring of Bishara was not just another provocation but rather a crossing of a red line.

"This is not the first time that the stadium in Sakhnin, under the auspices of the team’s leaders, serves as an anti-Israel platform. But this evening’s event, where an Israeli team thanked a man such as this, is intolerable. I call on the Football Association to act to the full extent of the law against the team and the factors responsible for this scandal," she said.