Israeli football club changes name after Donald Trump

15 May 2018, 18:49

NTV Online
Photo: Collected

Jerusalem's leading football team announced it was changing its name to ‘Beitar Trump Jerusalem’ on Sunday as Israelis basked in national pride and pro-American fervour in preparation for the controversial US embassy move to the disputed city.

Palestinians readied for their own protests on Monday over the embassy's inauguration, including another mass demonstration in the Gaza Strip near the border with Israel.

Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, both White House advisers, arrived in the country a day ahead of a ceremony to open the embassy.

Beitar Jerusalem, which has won six premier league titles, said it was changing its name in honour of Trump's historic decision, reports The Telegraph.

‘For 70 years has Jerusalem been awaiting international recognition, until President Donald Trump, in a courageous move, recognised Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel,’ it said in a statement on its Facebook page. 

‘President Trump has shown courage, and true love of the Israeli people and their capital, and these days other countries are following his lead in giving Jerusalem its rightful status.’

It comes at a time of high tension. 

The embassy move will take place on the 70th anniversary of Israel's founding, while the following day Palestinians will mark the Nakba, or ‘catastrophe’, commemorating the more than 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled in the 1948 war surrounding Israel's creation.

Palestinian protests are also planned for Tuesday.

For Israelis, Sunday was Jerusalem Day, an annual celebration of the ‘reunification’ of the city following the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.

This year's celebration took on added significance due to the embassy move, and thousands marched to the Western Wall including many hardline religious nationalists who oppose a Palestinian state.

Dressed in white held Israeli flags marchers filed through central Jerusalem toward the Old City with music blaring, including the song ‘Toy’ by Israel's Netta Barzilai, who won the Eurovision Song Contest.

Some had American flags, while banners celebrating US President Donald Trump were hung by a pro-Israel evangelical Christian organisation.

Speaking to journalists in the Old City, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat hailed the US embassy move as the beginning of ‘a new world order’.