After Hapoel TLV fans disgraceful display at bereaved families ceremony, Israel Basketball League has plenty of work to do

Dec 5, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

Another black mark befell the Israel Basketball League Administration as disgraceful and embarrassing scenes by some Hapoel Tel Aviv fans took place during the ceremony for bereaved families of Israel Police officers and security services ahead of their game at Hapoel Beer Sheva on Sunday evening.

How is it possible that anyone, that any Israeli in their right minds would boo and jeer the police after what had occurred on October 7th as they selflessly lost their lives defending the State of Israel against the evil enemy Hamas.


The families of the officers who had fallen in the line of duty were stunned and shocked as were everyone else that witnessed the ceremony in person or on TV. The widows and children stood as the Hapoel Tel Aviv fans decided to continue their trade and beef with the police at all costs. There was absolute disbelief that the Reds fans who they themselves lost so many of their own supporters either on October 7th or since then would stoop to the lowest of levels, but yet they did.

Condemnation came fast and furious as the news spread like wildfire across all social media networks, sports websites as well as mainstream news sites as well.

The club put out a statement about the incident calling it a small group of fans, the League Administration issued their comments without naming the team involved, the owner Ofer Yannay as well came out with his statement saying that such an occurrence will never happen again in the future.

The police quickly responded saying that those involved in the disgraceful event will live forever with this black mark and that they should be dealt with immediately. The police are now looking to file charges against all of those so called fans or rather hoodlums who behaved as subhuman barbarians. In addition, Hapoel Tel Aviv took steps to take away the season tickets of these individuals and will only be able to return to the stands if they give a heart felt apology to the families that they disgraced.

However, what took on Sunday night should have been no surprise as the League Administration has continuously managed every single problem that they need to deal with as if they are walking on eggshells that are about to break.

Prior to October 7th there had been so many issues that were mishandled from not being able to control fans from lighting flares inside of arenas that have almost led to disaster, to the charades that took place between Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Tel Aviv in the 3-game Derby Finals. One would have thought that by the time that the 2023/24 season was going to get underway these issues would have been taken care of.

Of course, that would have been too much to ask for.

As expected they were not ready and in fact far from it as we saw more nonsense occur when Hapoel Tel Aviv refused to play Maccabi Tel Aviv in the semifinals of the preseason Winner Cup Tournament as Red fans were asked to show identification by the Police in what was a farcical situation for all involved.

With the decision to return play as war rages on in the south and in the north, there has yet to be a statement by the League Administration as to the reasoning behind the decision which has produced what has been and what will be a subpar product across the board. Sure, League Chairman Ari Steinberg has done an interview with one outlet or another but that is not good enough if you are the head of a league who is trying to make a statement by playing.

Since the league primarily relies on top level foreigners unlike the soccer league which is for the most part made up of Israelis and in most cases second rate imports, the teams have had issues bringing in players who can make a difference on their teams and won’t be able to raise the level of play.

That is in no way an insult to the imports who have moved from Israel’s second division to the first, but the facts are the facts. They had originally signed in the Leumit for a reason that they were not good enough for the Premier League. In fact, the Sports Channel questioned the League as to the quality of the product that is being televised.

Teams that are competing in Europe have their own set of issues to deal with as only partial rosters have returned to play in Israel while the majority of the foreigners remain abroad.

Full marks must go to Holon who had their entire roster back in Israel for their domestic league game against Hapoel Afula, but Hapoel Tel Aviv had only two imports in Jaylen Hoard and Kyle Alexander who should receive huge credit for returning to Israel while Hapoel Jerusalem’s imports and head coach Aleksandar Dzikic will remain in Belgrade. What will be for Maccabi Tel Aviv is still unknown when they visit Bnei Herzliya next week. Any decision made by a foreigner should not be judged whether they are a head coach or player. If one decides to come to Israel then that’s great. If they do not, that should not be frowned upon by anyone.

But the bottom line is that the product that the League is providing is one that is subpar and there is no way around that fact.

Sure, it’s important to play and to continue some sort of normalcy, but the situation that Israelis are in is anything but normal. Is it normal that prior to a game the public address announcer needs to make sure that everyone in attendance knows where the shelters are in case of a rocket and missile attack emanating from Gaza?

It’s not and let’s not pretend that it is.

The League Administration must be transparent going forward and they need to clean up their act both on and off of the court as they need to come clean so to speak with their fans and take control of the league that is slipping though their fingers before it is too late.

Blame can be passed around and around and around the bend, but that’s not going to get anyone anywhere. It’s time for the League to pick up the ball and be a leader in Israeli sports and not continue to take a backseat and allow the disgraceful events that continue to plague the game of basketball in the Holy Land.

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