When the Jerusalem police cracked down, the protests only accelerated. Eventually, Netanyahu’s backers craved their own show of force. They found it in a group of soccer fans.
That group, La Familia, is composed of infamously racist “ultras” who support the team Beitar Jerusalem. On their face, ultras are highly organized fans; at games, they lead raucous chants, unfurl massive banners and set off flares. In practice, they can operate as members of a street gang united by criminality, ideology or a little bit of both.
Beitar is the unofficial team of Israel’s political right. It is the only club in the Israeli Premier League to never have had an Arab player on its roster, and it is Netanyahu’s favorite team. So as the summer’s protests swept Jerusalem, Likud activist Amnon Ben Ami put the call out for the ultras on his popular Facebook page: “La Familia, you are the