Firecracker stokes hooliganism debate


A firecracker thrown at an Israeli basketball game injured a security guard, stoking a nationwide debate about sports hooliganism.

During the last minute of a game Sunday between Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Holon, a firecracker landed on the court, prompting a guard to try to throw it away. The ensuing explosion blew off three of his fingers.

Veteran observers of Israeli sports said the incident was unprecedented. Four Holon supporters were arrested on suspicion of involvement.

Pundits were torn over whether police should be held responsible or whether the best way to stem hooliganism is to exclude fans of the affected teams from some future games.

The debate has been raging in Israel since Nov. 4, the 12th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s death, after some fans at a Betar Jerusalem soccer match whistled during a moment of silence observed in memory of the slain prime minister.

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