The state of Israel went through many wars in its short existence and now faces an unfortunate internal daily war against its soccer fans. Few extremist fans, from various teams in Israel, terrorize the soccer field, in what often seems as helplessness of security forces.
Last week, a soccer game in Be’er Sheva (the southern largest city of Israel RBA) was suspended for several minutes due to a smoke grenade. One of the fans threw the grenade and several fans entering the field. This month, fans from a Tel Aviv team graphitized walls with hatred slogans towards entities in the soccer league.
This situation, though not new, continues since the Israeli Police Force is no longer responsible to securing soccer stadiums during the game, but only maintains public safety outside the stadium. Securing the stadium during the game was privatized and mainly offers inexperienced and unarmed ushers, who by enlarge prefer not to enter a confrontation with the fans. In addition, there are no female ushers in stadiums, so searching females entering the stadium is impossible; women often are the ones to smuggle knifes, grenades etc. into a stadium.
Real Danger for Terrorist Attack
When we compare this situation to the British soccer, whose fans are notorious for their wilderness, the British police is the one securing the games using armed uniformed policemen and undercover agents within the stadium to presage potential scenarios. In addition, horse riding units secure the outside of the stadium and special units are in alert nearby.
One of the largest problems in securing stadiums in Israel is the system of “friend brings friend”; ushers and security guards are sometimes the ones to allow their friends to enter with no security checks, which dangers the crowd from violent fans and terrorist.
The Police Should Return to the Field
I believe that the Israeli Police, which probably stopped securing stadiums due to budgetary concerns, should return to secure soccer games. In addition to uniform and undercover cops, stadium ushers should undergo police training. We shouldn’t rely on untrained contractor companies’ employees, but hire professional security personnel from an experienced security company.
Undercover police force should be stationed in problem prone areas of the stadium and in the parking lots to identify the fans when preparing the grenades, knifes, etc.
In addition, stadiums should be monitored by cameras for real time surveillance and the tapes can be used as a proof when filing complaints against fans.
The Name of the Game is a Rough Hand
Combining a quality security system and uncompromising judicial system will help to defeat the wave of violence in Israeli soccer stadiums. Just as Magen David Adom (Israel national first aid organization RBA) remains in the stadium, security should be a police force task.