JERUSALEM (Jun. 19)
A group of famous soccer players from major teams say they will lobby the Knesset against Saturday games on religious and social grounds.
The players, who have the active and involved support of Tel Aviv Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Yisrael Lau, himself an ardent soccer fan, say the Shabbat games are unfair both to observant sports followers and to observant fans.
Rabbi Lau, meeting with the soccer stars and the media in Tel Aviv, noted that thousands of kippah-wearing fans are to be seen at Israel’s international matches, which are usually held midweek. Why should these people be deprived of local soccer? he asked.
Lau also said playing in the (Saturday) afternoon heat meant players could not give their best performance, which they could better achieve in the cool of a weekday evening.
Lau, in his previous position as chief rabbi of Netanya, had persuaded the local soccer club, Maccabi Netanya, to play on Fridays.