President Donald Trump may not be in Jerusalem to celebrate the opening of the new U.S. embassy there, marking the culmination of an effort to move it from Tel Aviv in accordance with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. Instead, first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner are leading the official White House delegation.
Make no mistake, however: Trump is still a pretty popular guy in Israel for his decision.
Now he’s going to get his own soccer team.
According to the The Jerusalem Post, Israeli Premier League club Beitar Jerusalem announced Sunday it was seeking to change its name in the wake of the president’s embassy move.
“The chairmen of the club, the owner Eli Tabib and the executive manager Eli Ohana have decided to add to the club’s title the name of the American president who made history, and from now on will be called Beitar Trump Jerusalem,” a statement from the club read. “We have the greatest love for the president, and we will win.”
Beitar Jerusalem has typically been associated with Israeli conservatism; when Beitar Jerusalem was founded in 1936, the club was heavily tied to Revisionist Zionism, the more right-wing version of the two branches of Zionism that would end up playing a major role in Israel’s founding.
The club has won six championships — something that can only increase when you consider that it’s being rechristened after someone who once said: “We’re going to win so much. You’re going to get tired of winning.”
“For 70 years, Jerusalem has been awaiting international recognition, until President Donald Trump, in a courageous move, recognized Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel,” Beitar Jerusalem’s statement continued. “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.
“The football club Beitar Jerusalem, one of the most prominent symbols of the city, is happy to honor the president for his love and support with a gesture of our own.”
Here’s the Facebook announcement:
Beitar Jerusalem still requires permission from the Israel Football Association to rename itself, and opposition to the change may not just be political. Trump has actually been a registered trademark in Israel since 2008, which could complicate matters significantly.
However, I somehow doubt that having a famous soccer club named after him will trigger Trump or his lawyers. In fact, not having a famous soccer club named after him would probably be a great deal more upsetting to the president.
As older readers (or hardcore sports fans) may recall, Trump owned the New Jersey Generals football franchise in the USFL, a short-lived spring NFL challenger. Until it folded after the 1985 season, Trump was pretty much the face of the league from an ownership standpoint, a role he clearly seemed to enjoy.
No, he won’t own Beitar Trump Jerusalem — but then again, he doesn’t have to in order to get his name in lights at the stadium.
That should be an appealing prospect for Trump, one that may cause him to let them the whole trademark thing slide.
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