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Refusal to play on Yom Kippur costs Israeli Davis Cup team (updated)

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israel Tennis Association will have to pay more than $13,000 for refusing to play a Davis Cup match on Yom Kippur.

The Israeli national tennis team had been scheduled to face Belgium in Antwerp on Sept. 14, which is Yom Kippur, in the international tournament.

The Belgian Tennis Association turned down Israel’s request to postpone the match, but the International Tennis Federation, which sponsors the Davis Cup, intervened and changed the date to Sept. 15.

However, the International Tennis Federation ordered the Israeli national team to pay the Belgian team for the costs incurred by adding a day to the tournament, the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot reported.

Yom Kippur is considered the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

“The Israel Tennis Association is a non-profit organization, which designates all of its funds to promote tennis in Israel and develop Israeli tennis players,” Israel Tennis Association Chairman Asi Touchmair said in a statement on the association’s website. “As a result, the high fine is a detrimental blow for the budget of the professional program for the Israeli tennis teams and to Israeli tennis in general.”

Though Touchmair called it a fine, the International Tennis Federation said in a statement sent to JTA that it is compensation. The statement said the Israel Tennis Association “has agreed to compensate the Belgian Tennis Federation for any costs that may be incurred as a result of changing the schedule and days of play for their forthcoming Davis Cup play-off tie.”

In the Israel Tennis Association statement, Touchmair also said, “As an institution that represents the State of Israel and its values, we in the Israeli Tennis Association stand proud, before all those who refuse to recognize the importance of the Jewish tradition, on behalf of Israel and Jews world over.”

(This brief has been corrected to reflect that the Israel Tennis Association has not been levied a fine over the change in date of the Davis Cup match.)

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