Israel’s Davis Cup Team Fined 10,000 Euros for Refusing to Play on Yom Kippur

August 14, 2013 8:58 am 9 comments

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) logo. Photo: ITF.

In the world of organized sports, religion and athletics can often collide. The Israeli female lacrosse team, for example, recently announced it would skip an international tournament rather than play on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.

Now Israel’s Davis Cup team has run into trouble by refusing to participate in a playoff match against Belgium on September 14 – the day of Yom Kippur, the holiest date in the Jewish calendar.

The Belgium Tennis Association originally refused Israel’s request for a postponement, until the International Tennis Federation (ITF) – which sponsors the Davis Cup – stepped in and forced a change.

“For a long time, the Belgian tennis union refused to recognize our basic need to avoid playing on Yom Kippur,” Israel Tennis Association Chairman Asi Touchmair wrote in a letter quoted by Israel’s Yediot Aharonot newspaper. “It was only after the ITF intervened” that the game was postponed.

However, the ITF demanded Team Israel pay a 10,000 Euro fine to the Belgians for the inconvenience of postponing the match.

“The high penalty deals a detrimental blow to our budget and professional program,” Touchmair explained in a statement on the association’s website. “As an institution representing the State of Israel and its values, we’re proud to stand against all those who refuse to recognize the importance of traditions for the Jewish people.”

It’s surprising to see that, in today’s day and age, after Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax sat out in the 1930s and 1965 World Series respectively, we still live in a society where religious belief isn’t respected without reprimand.

The Israelis, with any luck, will make the Belgians pay on the tennis court and push forward into the next round of the tournament – if, for nothing more than, to prove the fine levied against them was worthwhile.

I await September 15th, the new date for the match with glee.

9 Comments

  • Geez lots of anger here. Is it so bad that people live in a way that they wish? Yom Kippur has been a holy day for the jewish people for thousands of years not just for a few. You need to let go of the hate already guys.

  • Jews still live by ancient, primitive religious nonsense? Grow up! It’s the 21st century.

  • I bet they would not do this to a Muslim team on an Islamic holiday.

  • Deborah Broidy

    I wonder…would the ITF fine the Belgian Davis Cup team if they wanted to postpone a game on Christmas? Or Easter?

    Would they even schedule a game on one of the most holy Christian faith days?

    Shame on you Belgium Tennis Association for protesting the change in the first place, and shame on you ITF for posting a fine for something like this…

  • Shalom-Hillel

    What a callous display of ill-will by the Belgian association. The Israeli team should not be paying a fine. This reminds me of the attitude of the Olympic committee towards Jewish concerns. The ITF is wrong in fining Israel. It’s a slap in the face to the worldwide Jewish community, and I will not forget it.

  • Everyone knows that this is the most important day for Israel. Dont set them up to play on that day.

  • I am sure ITF fined Sweden for forcing Israel to play in an empty, fortified stadium because of the anti-Semites in Malmo threatening Israeli lives……

    You know, Whole Wide World, if you weren’t full of hypocritical dingbats, this could be a lovely place.

  • It would be wise of Israel to sue the ITF for Human Rights Violations. This is a blatant act by the Belgian’s and the ITF. You can be sure that there are no games scheduled for Easter mornings nor Christmas day.

  • Good for the Israeli women; So for 10,000 Euros the world will know what Yom Kippur is. Perhaps in the future they will respect the Yom Tov.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Sports Gold on the Galilee: Israeli Kayaker Comes of Age, Eyes Olympics (VIDEO)

    Gold on the Galilee: Israeli Kayaker Comes of Age, Eyes Olympics (VIDEO)

    JNS.org – Three years ago, kayaking coach Roei Lev found aspiring Olympian Ilya Podpolnyy crying on the steps of the Jordan Valley Sprint Kayak Club overlooking the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). Podpolnyy, then 17 years old, had just been disqualified from the Israeli kayaking championship. He couldn’t survive the heats. He didn’t make the start line. He was devastated—and he had no one with whom to share his hopes, his dreams, and his disappointment. His divorced parents still live in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Lena Dunham Responds to Charges of Antisemitism: It was Just a Jew Joke

    Lena Dunham Responds to Charges of Antisemitism: It was Just a Jew Joke

    “Girls” creator Lena Dunham responded on Tuesday to charges of antisemitism over an article she had penned for the New Yorker, saying it was all in good humor. Speaking to Variety, Dunham reflected on her “tight-knit Jewish family, where Jew jokes were part of the essential fiber of our communication.” The article Dunham referred to was called “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz,” with options such as “He doesn’t Tip” and “He’s Crazy for Cream Cheese.” Among Dunham’s critics, Anti-Defamation [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Former NBA Star Tweets Article About Jewish Conspiracy to Control Global Media

    Former NBA Star Tweets Article About Jewish Conspiracy to Control Global Media

    Retired NBA player Keyon Dooling tweeted a link on Wednesday to a wildly antisemitic article that accuses Jews of seizing control of the world’s media and using it to promote their own interests. The article, published by an obscure blog in April 2013, highlights six companies it claims are owned by Jews — such as Time Warner, Inc. and the Walt Disney Company – that allegedly “control 96 percent of the world’s media.”  The post includes allegations of “Jewish control” and says [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Rosh Hashanah Won’t Keep the Giants’ Geoff Schwartz From Season Opener

    Rosh Hashanah Won’t Keep the Giants’ Geoff Schwartz From Season Opener

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz responded to an outcry from Jewish fans on Tuesday, saying he will go ahead and play in the season opener despite the fact that it falls on the first night of Rosh Hashanah. “Keep getting tweets about that being the first night of Rosh Hashanah… Don’t know what I’m supposed to tell you. It’s a tough break,” the Jewish athlete wrote, referring to the Giants’ on-the-road game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Sept. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish Coach David Blatt Has NBA’s Cavaliers Surging at Playoff Time

    Jewish Coach David Blatt Has NBA’s Cavaliers Surging at Playoff Time

    JNS.org – When David Blatt was hired as head coach of the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers last June, he was not often recognized when he walked the streets of downtown Cleveland. What a difference a year makes. Now, Blatt can go few places without being recognized. For good reason. The Jewish coach has the Cavaliers in the mix to win the city of Cleveland’s first championship in a major sport since the Browns won the National Football League title in [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    A Hebrew tattoo sported by Croatian soccer star Mario Mandzukic became an internet sensation in Israel after it was exposed on Tuesday during a Champions League match between Ateltico Madrid and Real Madrid A first glance, the tattoo, on the athlete’s back, might leave one with the impression that it was an unfortunate artistic mistake, since the Hebrew letters do not make sense as they are written. However, a closer look at the tattoo shows that it was actually written [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    For the past two years, I have served as Opinion Editor at The Algemeiner. I’m perhaps most proud of the paper’s commitment to publishing diverse and opposing viewpoints on the controversial issues of the day. We pride ourselves on voicing different opinions because we know that most issues are not black and white, and because our community is better served by a public debate. In my life outside of the paper, I am a professional actor and playwright. And similarly, [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    JNS.org – “Risk: The Game of Strategic Conquest,” the classic Parker Brothers board game, requires imperial ambitions. Players imagine empires and are pitted against each other, vying for world domination. Amid this fictional world war, beginners learn fast that no matter the superiority of their army, every advance is a gamble determined by a roll of the dice. After a defeat, a player must retreat. Weighted reinforcement cards provide the only opportunity to reverse a player’s fortunes and resume the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.