The Beitar Jerusalem Football Club stands as the most controversial Israeli sports team because they were the only team in the Israeli Premier League that has never fielded an Arab player. Their loyal fans, known as La Familia, take pride in such a fact, and use their fandom as an avenue for nationalist ideology. But in 2012, team owner Arcadi Gaydamak signed two Muslim players, Zaur Sadayev and Dzhabrail Kadiyev, from Chechnya, sparking a wave of backlash from their fans who become opponents of their own team. Investigative journalist Maya Zinshtein’s feature-length debut documentary “Forever Pure” goes inside the Beitar locker room as the mania strikes, examining how mob behavior, religious fanaticism, and ethnic persecution can take hold in the collective consciousness. Watch an exclusive clip from the film below.
“In the clip,” says Zinshtein, “it’s the first moment when the Chechen’s face the fans and are confronted by unbelievable hatred. Although when they first arrived they were welcomed by the club in a very warm way, and for half a day they felt like stars. But this moment soon changed when they were faced with reality.”
“Forever Pure” will premiere in the Docs section of the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday, September 10th.