The World Cup of soccer is supposed to be a time when all countries can come together and bask in the joys and excitements of the biggest international single-sport tournament in the world, regardless of nationality and whether or not your country’s team is participating. Unfortunately for Israeli soccer fans in Russia this summer, displaying Israeli flags has drawn threats, harassment, and violence, Reuters reports.
For example, a man with an Israeli flag around his shoulders was filmed as he was being chased around Moscow’s Red Square by men shouting “Palestine,” including one wearing a Tunisian flag. The man wearing the Israeli flag, who was also wearing a kippah, was filmed walking away from the growing group of hecklers along with another man who walked alongside him, Reuters reports.
The hecklers shouted things like “Israel the whore” in Arabic, “get lost,” and “f*** you” as they continuously tried taunting the men who kept walking away. About five hecklers then shouted “Viva Palestine” while waving the Tunisian flag, Reuters reports.
In a separate incident, the Israel Broadcasting Corp. reported that a man waving an Israel flag during a match between Portugal and Morocco had it snatched from him by fans who wanted to tear it up, Reuters said. Israelis in attendance Wednesday said a player had thrown his shirt into the crowd and fans were jostling to find it and keep it as a souvenir, the IBC later reported.
On Facebook, a page of supporters for the Tunisian team featured a post with a video of the incident on Red Square. Decorated with icons showing a flexed muscular arm, it was titled “When Tunisian chased Israelis in Moscow singing Palestine,” Reuters reports.