Forever Pure

Forever Pure

  • BY Maya Zinshtein | IN Immigration
    Premiered May 15, 2017

About the Film

Forever Pure examines the clash between personal identity, politics, money and sports, and how racism has the potential to destroy not only a team but an entire society.

Beitar Jerusalem Football Club, formed in 1936, is the most popular and controversial soccer team in Israel, long associated with the conservative Likud political party and the only club in the Israeli Premier League never to sign an Arab player. Midway through the 2012-13 season a secretive transfer by the owner, Russian-Israeli oligarch Arcadi Gaydamak, brought two Muslim players from Chechnya onto the team. A powerful group of Beitar fans known as La Familia began a racist campaign against the two Muslim players, the team’s management, and any player who supported them. Shouting hate-filled chants and unfurling banners reading “Forever Pure. No Arabs,” they created a national scandal that sent the team spiraling out of control.   MORE

For more than two decades, right-wing Israeli leaders have known that the road to victory passes through Teddy Stadium, home of Beitar Jerusalem Football Club. They have sat in the East Stands, listening to La Familia's anti-Arab chants, and Gaydamak spent millions on the team, hoping to use the fans' rabid loyalty to become Mayor of Jerusalem. To many of those fans Beitar is much more than their home club — it’s their identity, along with the racism they embrace.

But Gaydamak’s bid for election fails and he loses interest in the team. In 2012, after taking the Beitar squad on an unexpected tour of Chechnya capital Grozny, Gaydamak agrees to bring the two Muslim players, Zaur Sadaev (23) and Dzhabrail Kadiev (19), to Beitar Jerusalem. Pandemonium erupts after the arrival of the two newcomers sets off a media firestorm in Israel in what becomes a tempestuous Beitar season. Forever Pure takes us inside the disturbing and sometimes violent reality of national pride taken to extremes.

The Filmmaker

Maya Zinshtein is an Israeli filmmaker and journalist who emigrated from Russia during her childhood and now lives in Tel Aviv. She holds a BA in Cinema and French studies, and an MA in Security and Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University. She has produced several documentaries, including Thieves by Law, directed by Alexander Gentelev, the inside story of the Russian Mafia; and Operation Successor, also directed by Gentelev, about the 2008 presidential elections in Russia. As an investigative journalist for Haaretz newspaper she’s covered many of the ills of Israeli society and directed investigative stories for Israeli television channels.

Geoff Arbourne is an Emmy award-winning producer and founder of Inside Out Films, an enterprising production company and home to original, visually exciting stories with a clear focus on political subjects. Based in a remote part of Devon, in rural England and operating from the UK and South Africa. In 2016 he was Sundance Institute Fellow recipient, and producer of the award-winning documentary Forever Pure. LESS

Film Credits

Directed & Produced by
Maya Zinshtein

Produced by
Geoff Arbourne

Executive Producers
John Battsek
Nicole Stott

Edited by
Justine Wright
Noam Amit

Co-produced by
Alan Maher
Torstein Grude

Director of Photography
Sergei (Israel) Freedman

Cinematography by
Yaniv Linton
Ross McDonnell

Music by
Stephen Rennicks

Story Consultant
Joe Bini

Sound Recordist
Slava Frenklakh

Titles and Graphics by
Matt Curtis

Tom Christer Lilletvedt

Re-recording Sound Mixers
Michael Goorevich
Fionan Higgins


Tamirlan Mezhidov
Murad Dikaev

Production Support
Adlan Bachaev
Artur Arsanukaev

Additional Filming
Tom Gat
Eliran Knoller

Additional Sound Recordists
Vitaliy Grinshpun
Robert Shiloni

Production Coordinator
Lea Frank

Archival Researcher
Amit Lenchner

Vladi Dvoyris
Yogev Negoro

Online Picture Services
Hinterland AS

Online Audio Facility
Number 4 Windmill Lane

Technical Advisors
Vivid Rental
Evren Arkali
Matt Gauci

Production Accountants
Nigel Wood
Marina and Alexander Kaganovich

Archival Materials
The Sports Channel Israel
“UVDA”, Keshet Broadcasting
IBA Film Archive Channel 1
News Channel 2 – Israel
News Channel 10 – Israel
Grozny TV – Chechnya
Shaked Media


All Original Music Recorded at Sponge Music, Dublin

All Instruments played by Stephen Rennicks

“After Barn” from “Boy Eats Girl”
Hugh Drumm and Stephen Rennicks
Courtesy of Element Films and Silverstream Publishing

Written by Hatikva6
Performed by Hatikva 6

Special Thanks
Lee Abramovich
Joelle Alexis
Amit Family
Itai Anghel
Ido (Sany) Arazi
Aliza Askira
Dan Barzily
Arik Bernshtein
Hadar Cohen
Yair Cymerman
Momi Dahan
Oshri Dudai
Yaron Fishman
Yair Galily
Alexander Gentelev
Adi Goldiner
Avner Gvaryahu
Ido Haar
Tamar Horesh
Rachel Leah Jones
Philippa Kowarsky
Noa Landau
Adi Mishnayot
Nitsan Ofir
Avi Parsha
Roy and Adi Rabinovici
Osnat Shostak
Sharon Shpurer
Shahar Smooha
Naomi Toledano
Oren Yakobovich
Lior Zaidner
Kobi Zaig

Funding Provided by
The New Israeli Fund for Cinema and TV
Irish Film Board
Canal Plus
BBC Storyville
Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program
Bertha Foundation
Filmkraft Rogaland
The Guardian
Tribeca Film Institute Tribeca Gucci Documentary Fund
And others. A complete list available from PBS.

Forever Pure is a co-production of Yes Docu, Duckin’ & Divin’ Films, Maya Films, Roads Entertainment, and Piraya Film, in association with Passion Pictures.

This program was produced by Duckin’ & Divin’ Films and Maya Films, which are solely responsible for its content.

© Duckin’ & Divin’ Films and Maya Films, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

What lessons and examples from the film's story do you think apply to American sports, and society in general? Do you think the club's owner should not have attempted the transfer of those two Muslim players? Would you support a team that had a rabid fanbase like La Familia as part of it?


  • News & Documentary Emmy Award
    Outstanding Politics & Government Documentary
  • Jerusalem Film Festival
    Best Director of a Documentary + Best Editing
  • Tromsø International Film Festival
    Faith in Film Award
Please review our comment guidelines.
What lessons and examples from the film's story do you think apply to American sports, and society in general? Do you think the club's owner should not have attempted the transfer of those two Muslim players? Would you support a team that had a rabid fanbase like La Familia as part of it?