Soccer on Shabbat

There is a law in Israel that employers cannot force employees to work on Shabbat. It is rarely enforced. However, in the last couple of weeks, a Labor Court judge ruled that because of that law, organizing or participating in soccer matches on Shabbat was illegal. The judge order the Israeli football association (IFA) to get a permit from the government.

Who is the minister responsible for giving the permit? None other than Economy Minister Aryeh Deri. (Deri is, among other things, orthodox, and the leader of an orthodox party taht would see one of its roles, for sure, as protecting the sanctity of Shabbat. Pretty ironical.)

Next up, some foot dragging.

That sound you can hear, is Deri scrambling around trying to find somewhere to hide…

Now, given the lack of a permit, the IFA is in something of a pickle. Having warned it would do so, the IFA carried out its threat and announced the cancellation of ALL soccer games over the weekend.

On the assumption that Deri will not be rushing forward to break Shabbat, the buck will have to be passed on up the line. To Bibi.

I expect there to be some hack of a solution put together, but the situation is a bit of a balagan, and there are several complicating factors. Among the many competing issues:

  • If there’s one place in the world where you can play (professional) sports other than on Shabbat, shouldn’t that be in Israel?
  • Is it time to switch to a ‘regular’ weekend of Saturday and Sunday?
  • What about Muslim players who do not want to play on Friday?
  • What about Christian players who do not want to play on Sunday?
  • Why upset the status quo? (See here.)
  • As well as the players, the interests of the fans and TV audience need to be taken into consideration.
  • Many leisure facilities remain open on Shabbat. Are they at risk?

Am I glad I don’t have to sort this mess out!

When the Shas hits the fan

Ynet has an interview with the Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri. Out of power, and away from the center of influence, Shas is struggling a bit. From what I hear, it is retaining its support among the hardcore, traditional Shas voters. But floating voters are – at least now – more inclined to vote for other parties. This condemns Shas to more time in the political wilderness. How will the party solve that?

Continued attacks on the government as being anti-Haredi? Unlikely. This interview may give a hint at the strategy. It’s fairly open warfare against Netanyahu. It’s negative politics and campaigning of the worst kind. It would be sad to see that succeed because, on the basis of what their leader says, Shas have nothing positive to offer the country. They belong in the political wilderness. Forty years, anyone?

Some brief points.

Deri is asked if the government is anti-Haredi. This is his reply:

Yes, unequivocally so. From the moment this government was formed, it’s been united by a single purpose – to harm the ultra-Orthodox public as much as possible, the Torah-studying public and the weaker sectors of the population.”

This is delusional nonsense.

In answer to another question about Shas’ natural partners, he included this:

Lapid, Bennett, Lieberman and (Tzipi) Livni taught us a lesson… They taught us how everyone looks out for themselves, without even a glance to the left or the right.”

If ever there were a party that looked out for itself and its constituents, that party was and is Shas. He is surely projecting, big time.

Both these points of detail suggest that Shas does not belong in the government, at least with Deri at the helm.

Sticks and stones

From the Jerusalem Post:

Shas leader attacks chief rabbinate candidate

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef calls Rabbi David Stav “an evil man”; comment follows Yosef’s move to block Amar bill.

Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef issued a fierce attack against candidate for the chief rabbinate Rabbi David Stav Saturday night, calling him “an evil man.”

Yosef’s comments come just days after the rabbi instructed Shas MKs to block the so called Amar bill which was designed to allow serving Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar to stand again for election.

The terms of the deal were for Amar to support Stav in return for Bayit Yehudi helping pass the legislation to enable Amar’s re-election.

“This man is dangerous to Judaism, the Torah and the rabbinate,” said Yosef in reference to Stav during his weekly Torah lesson.

“Rabbi Amar is an upright and righteous man by they are using his name to elect an evil man who is unfitting to be anything,” Yosef continued.

“Suddenly everyone is shouting that they want Stav [as chief rabbi]; if he was a Talmud Hacham [learned Torah Scholar] they would hate him,” the rabbi claimed.

You can read it all, here.

Is this type of behavior real Rabbinic leadership in action? Is this Torah in practice? Is this Judaism? If so, it’s not for me.

There is something badly wrong out there.

I hope and pray that there are good people working behind the scenes to stop this nonsense – now, and forever. If rabbonim are going to promote themselves, and be involved in politics – party or otherwise – they must set a good example, if not a shining, dazzling example, of how to be a Jew in the modern world. Getting ‘down and dirty’ is neither Jewish, nor appropriate. It’s also wrong from any objective viewpoint.

Oh boy; what a bad start to the week that is.