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Beitar Jerusalem
Full name Beitar Jerusalem Football Club
Nickname(s) The Menorah
The Flag of the State
Lions from the Capital
Founded 1936
Ground Teddy Stadium, Jerusalem
(Capacity: 21,600)
Owner Arkadi Gaydamak/Guma Aguiar (Sponsor)
Manager David Amsalem
League Israeli Premier League
2008-09 3rd
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours

Beitar Jerusalem F.C. (Hebrew: מועדון כדורגל בית"ר ירושלים‎, Moadon Kaduregel Beitar Yerushalayim) is an Israeli football club from Jerusalem. The club is based at the Teddy Stadium in the Malha neighborhood, and plays in black and yellow. The club has been associated with Right-wing Israeli politics for over 70 years and attracts support from the La Familia Ultras group.[1]



The club was founded in 1936 by David Horn, the head of the local Betar movement. Most of the clubs players in the early years were from the Betar organisation, and the club was forced to stop playing in 1938 following arrests of Betar members by the British authorities, before resuming activity in 1943 under Horn and Shmuel Kirschstein. More players were arrested in the 1940s, and exiled to Eritrea and Kenya, resulting in the formation of a Beitar Eritrea team. During the internment era, Horn refused to suspend operations again, and renamed it Nordia Jerusalem so as to deny links to the Irgun. Most of the Nordia players nevertheless came from Betar's ranks, including Simon Alfasi.

After independence in 1948, Beitar were played in Liga Bet, then the second tier. In 1953–54 the club won the southern division of Liga Bet, and were promoted to the top division, which had just been renamed Liga Leumit. In their first season in the top flight they finished 11th out of 14, and were forced to participate in promotion/relegation play-offs. Although they were the highest-placed club to take part in the play-offs, they finished bottom of the group,[2] Beitar were relegated back to the second division, now renamed Liga Alef.

In 1957–58 they won Liga Alef, but were not promoted, as there was no promotion or relegation that year. They won Liga Alef again in 1966–68 (a two-year season) and were promoted back to Liga Leumit. After finishing thirteenth in 1968–69, Beitar finished fifth in 1969–70, their best performance to date. Two seasons later they finished as runners-up to Maccabi Tel Aviv.

In 1974, during a match against Hapoel Petah Tikva, Beitar fans invaded the pitch and attacked Petah Tikva players and fans. This caused the first of several "radius" penalties, in which the club was forced to play matches in other cities behind closed doors. Beitar were also due to be relegated, but were saved by the intervention of Knesset members Ehud Olmert and Yossi Sarid, who forced the suspension of the relegation threat and called for an investigation of Israel Football Association corruption. In 1974–75 the club reached the State Cup final for the first time, but lost 3–1 to Hapoel Kfar Saba.[3] In the same season they finished second bottom of the league, and were due to be relegated to Liga Artzit (the new second division). However, an IFA decision to expand the league from 16 to 18 clubs saw them reprieved. The next season they finished runners-up in the league to Hapoel Be'er Sheva and reached the State Cup final again, this time beating Maccabi Tel Aviv 2–1 to claim their first piece of major silverware.

The club finished as runners-up in both 1977–78 and 1978–79, also reaching the cup final in the latter season, winning 2–1 against Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Despite the run of success towards the end of the 1970s, Beitar finished bottom of the division in 1979–80, and were relegated to Liga Artzit. However, they made an immediate return to the top division after finishing as runners-up to Beitar Tel Aviv in their first season back in the second tier.

In 1983–84 Beitar went into the last game of the season needing a win or draw to secure the title. However, they lost 1–0 to Hapoel Tel Aviv, allowing Maccabi Haifa to win the league. In 1985 Dror Kashtan took over as manager and Beitar again finished as runners-up to Maccabi Haifa, but prevented Haifa from completing the double by beating them 1–0 in the cup final.[3] They retained the cup in 1985-86, beating Shimshon Tel Aviv 2–1.

Despite having to play all home matches at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv, in 1986–87 Beitar claimed their first title, winning the league by a 15-point margin.[2] Kashtan left the club to manage Maccabi Haifa, but returned in 1988. In 1988–89 they won the State Cup again, beating Maccabi Haifa 4–3 on penalties after a 3–3 draw. Kashtan left the club again during 1989.

In 1990–91 they finished second bottom of Liga Leumit, and were relegated to Liga Artzit. Under Lufa Kadosh the club made an immediate return to the top division. Kashtan returned to the club, winning the title in their first season back in Liga Leumit. Kashtan departed for a fourth time, resulting in the appointment of Eli Cohen. The club won the title again in 1996–97 and in 1997–98, by which time Kashtan had returned to the club again.

In 1998–99 Beitar reached the cup final, but lost 3–1 on penalties to Hapoel Tel Aviv after a 1–1 draw. Kashtan was replaced by former player Eli Ohana, under whom the club reached the cup final again the following season, where they lost on penalties to Hapoel Tel Aviv again. At the end of the 1999–2000 season, Ohana was fired and replaced by Eli Guttman. Despite success on the pitch, at the end of the 1990s the club was in severe financial difficulties; chairman Moshe Dadash had sold the club's training grounds and pocketed the money.

After several mid-table finishes, in 2005 the club was bought by Russian-born billionaire Arkadi Gaydamak. He angered some Beitar fans when he donated $400,000 to Bnei Sakhnin in a diplomatic gesture. However, under Gaydamak, the club soon established itself as having the largest budget in Israeli football. Several new players were signed such as Jérôme Leroy, Fabrice Fernandes, David Aganzo and the club eventually signed manager Luis Fernández. Beitar finished third in the league and qualified for the UEFA Cup in 2005–06. Ossie Ardiles was appointed manager at the start of the 2006–07 season, but was sacked after disappointing results in the UEFA Cup. His replacement, Yossi Mizrahi, led the club to the title. In 2007–08 the club won its first double, winning the title by nine points and beating Hapoel Tel Aviv 5–4 on penalties in the cup final after a 0–0 draw. The following season Beitar won the State Cup again, beating Maccabi Haifa 2–1 in the final. In July 2009 Guma Aguiar invested over US$4 million and it was widely expected that he would take over ownership of the club, and indeed claimed to be so in December 2009. This was denied by the Israel Football Association, stating that Gaydamak remains the owner due to his ongoing legal issues complicating the sale of the club.[4]


Since the foundation of The Beitar Movement, the Menorah has become a theme that has run throughout the years. The new Beitar Jerusalem crest has kept the Menorah:

Arab Players Controversy

Beitar Jerusalem captain Aviram Baruchyan met with fans belonging to the La Familia Ultras organization and apologized for saying that he would like to see an Arab play in the football team.

The fans told him they were hurt by the remark he made at an anti-violence conference in November 2009.

Baruchyan said at the end of the meeting, "The most painful thing is that I unfortunately hurt Beitar’s fans, and I understood that I hurt them very much. It’s important for me that the players know and that everyone knows that I am with them through thick and thin, and I don’t care what other people think or write.

"However," he added, "it’s important for me to stress that I’m not the one who decides on these things, but if at the moment the fans don’t want it, there won’t be an Arab player in Beitar."[5]

Aviram Baruchyan has been criticized consistently for his apology given to the fans of Beitar Jerusalem. It has been said that the reason for his remark was purely to achieve good publicity.


The club was initially based at the "Banana Field" close to Beitar youth group's "nest", but by the 1950s had moved to the YMCA Stadium, which was later shared with Hapoel Jerusalem. The YMCA was nicknamed the sandbox due to the poor condition of the pitch.

In 1991 both clubs moved to the Teddy Stadium, named after longtime Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek. Initially the stadium was two-sided and held 12,000 spectators. This was increased to 21,600 when a third side was completed in 1997. The fourth side of the stadium remains undeveloped. It has been dubbed Gehinom (lit. Hell) by club supporters, for the hostile atmosphere they present to visiting teams and their fans.


Current squad

Beitar training at the Daniel Hotel in Herzliya in October, 2006.

As of July, 2009

First team

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Israel GK Ariel Harush
2 Israel DF Shmuel Kozokin
3 Israel DF Eliran Danin
4 Israel DF Arik Benado
5 Israel DF Shimon Gershon
6 Israel DF Tomer Ben Yosef
7 Israel FW Amit Ben-Shushan
8 Israel MF Aviram Baruchyan (captain)
9 Israel FW Barak Yitzhaki
10 Israel FW Toto Tamuz
11 Israel MF Idan Tal
14 Israel FW Hen Azriel
No. Position Player
15 Israel MF Dan Einbinder
16 Israel MF Evyatar Baruchyan
18 Israel DF Avi Reikan
19 Israel MF Barak Moshe
20 Israel MF Idan Vered
21 Israel MF Kobi Moyal
22 Israel GK Ohad Saidof
23 Uruguay MF Sebastián Vázquez
24 Israel MF Eli Sason
25 Peru MF Paolo de la Haza
27 Peru MF Junior Viza
28 Israel DF Eitan Tibi

Youth team

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Israel GK Aviram Ziat
2 Israel DF Eli Dasa
3 Israel DF Tomer Yerucham
4 Nigeria DF Micheal Nwodo
5 Israel DF Oren Cohen
6 Israel DF Tal Kachila
7 Israel MF Ofir Kriaf
8 Israel DF Yakir Baruchyan
9 Israel FW Eden Nachmani
10 Israel MF Hazi Pinhas
11 Israel MF Meir Elkabetz
12 Israel DF Tom Loria
No. Position Player
14 Israel FW Eden Malka
15 Israel DF Netanel Ben-Simon
16 Israel MF Barak Moshe
17 Israel MF Zhahi Elihen
18 Israel MF Sahar Ben-Hamu
19 Israel FW Harel Polak
20 Israel MF Bryan Nakash
21 Israel MF Nadir Perach
22 Israel GK Halil Tzarfati
23 Israel DF Dan Ilouz
25 Israel MF Eden Spoikoini

Former players

Most appearances

Rank Name Period Games Goals
1 Uri Malmilian 1973 – 1989 423 140
2 Hanan Azulay 1974 – 1989 369 041
3 Itzhak Jano 1968 – 1983 375 009
4 Yossi Mizrahi 1972 – 1988 371 000
5 Itzik Kornfein 1995 – 2007 366 000
6 Eli Ohana 1980 – 1987
1991 – 1999
345 142
Yossi Hakham 1965 – 1980 345 001
8 Shaul Mizrahi 1953 – 1970 304 040
9 Eitan Mizrahi 1989 – 2003 299 012
10 Sami Malka 1980 – 1992 288 047
11 Udi Rubowitch 1963 – 1974 281 081
12 Meir Kadosh 1984 – 1995 279 000
Ya'akov Schwartz 1983 – 1994 279 035
14 Danny Noyman 1971 – 1980
1982 – 1984
264 034
15 Shlomi Avrahami 1960 – 1973 260 020
16 David Amsalem 1995 – 1998
2000 – 2009
252 011
17 Serhiy Tritjak 1992 – 2000 239 003
18 Itzhak Monsa 1958 – 1968 235 051
19 Hai Mizrahi 1954 – 1965 229 001
Yossi Avrahami 1974 – 1984 229 018

Player of the year

Year Winner
2004–05 Israel Avi Nimni
2005–06 Israel Yoav Ziv
2006–07 Israel Michael Zandberg
2007–08 Israel Gal Alberman
2008–09 Israel Barak Yitzhaki



External links

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