Israeli soccer team attacked in Poland

After an exhibition game in Sochocin, players from Hapoel Petah Tikva attacked by local anti-Semites.

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Neri Weiss,

Anti-Semitism in Europe (illustration)
Anti-Semitism in Europe (illustration)
Reuters

Players from the Hapoel Petah Tikva soccer team on Wednesday evening experienced a very frightening and anti-Semitic incident on Polish soil.

The players, who played an exhibition game in Sochocin, located about 70 kilometers from Warsaw, were attacked following the game by a number of masked men in what appeared to be a planned ambush by local fans.

"After most of the players returned to the hotel, a number of masked fascists who are fans of Legia Warsaw burst unto the field and tried to beat a number of crew members who were left behind, two of whom were lightly injured," the club's official Facebook page said.

The incident occurred "despite the fact that there was police presence during the game, and occurred after police forces left the scene in what looks like a planned ambush," the club continued.

"The players who witnessed the incident began to chase after the attackers, who fled. The players and the professional staff are safe, and there were no injuries in the surprising incident," it added.

The Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sport said in response that it is working with the authorities in Poland in order to find those responsible for the attack and severely punish them.

This is not the first display of anti-Semitism against Israeli athletes in Europe.

Last August, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flags were seen during a soccer match in France between Israeli Beitar Jerusalem and Saint-Étienne.

A week earlier, supporters of Glasgow’s Celtic Football Club waved PLO flags during their Champions League qualifier against Israel’s Hapoel Be'er Sheva, prompting the Union of European Football (UEFA) to launch disciplinary proceedings against Celtic.

Two years ago, players from the Israeli club Ashdod were chased from the field by fans during a game against CSKA Sofia in Bulgaria.