JERUSALEM (Feb. 5)
The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by two American basketball players that they be recognized as Israeli citizens. The two, who are not Jewish, married Israeli women in wedding ceremonies in Cyprus in an effort to qualify to play in league basketball games in Israel. The court refused to recognize a change in their status and ordered them to pay 200,000 Shekels in court costs.
Over the years, numerous non-Jewish athletes from the United States have undergone marriages of convenience or quickie conversions to attain Israeli citizenship to qualify for basketball teams. Frequently, managers of teams have accepted these players, despite strenuous objections by the rabbinate.