Gay pride flag (illustration)
Gay pride flag (illustration)Reuters

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir sent a letter to the Israeli soccer association requesting that the Hapoel Katamon team from Jerusalem be put on trial, after the team replaced a corner flag in a match with the rainbow flag of the homosexual community.

"It was brought to my attention that in the last soccer match of the Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem team, the team's management exchanged the corner flag with the 'pride march' flag, and even published a picture of it to the media," wrote Ben-Gvir.

The issue raises particular controversy in the largely religious city of Jerusalem where the team is based, given that Judaism forbids homosexuality.

The attorney noted that "this action would be comparable in my eyes to the management of Beitar Jerusalem replacing the corner flag with the Lehava organization," a reference to the anti-assimilation group headed by Bentzi Gopshtain that has been often criticized by the media over its fight to maintain Jewish identity.

"I have no doubt how great the measure of shock would be, I have not doubt that in circumstances such as those the association would put the (Beitar) club on trial," he added.

"A soccer game is an enjoyment and pastime, and there is no place to bring in a political agenda from the management of any soccer club," he stated. "Therefore...I ask to take steps against the Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem club."

In response, the soccer team said in a statement: "we at Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem oppose racism and violence since we were established, we are happy to show that in soccer too there is room for everyone, regardless of their background and without irrelevant questions. All are welcome to celebrate our ascent to the national league this Friday at Teddy (Stadium)."