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...

  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater 10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    Last month, my one-man show Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey with the generous assistance of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran ran in the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award. The play has now been selected to run in the Fringe Encores Series at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, for four performances which started on Thursday, September 11. Getting the play to the stage was not easy, however. Here are [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Phenomenon: Tel Aviv-based musician and “sampler” extraordinaire, Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel) has hit another one out of the park with “Give It Up,” a fully-functioning song in its own right, assembled from hundreds of ameteur and instructional music videos. The Jerusalem-born musical prodigy is best know for his diverse online musical projects. In the latest video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 12th, Kutiel thanked most of the musicians and individuals he chose to include in the meticulously-edited clip, which opens with [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    A recently released behind-the-scenes reel of Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Exodus: Gods and Kings shows just how far the director has gone to portray one of the Bible’s most famous narratives. In the clip, which shows scenes involving up to 4,000 extras, the visionary director discusses what drew him to the biblical tale of Moses. “The Moses story was a massive challenge, which I really love. I wanted to explore the complexity of his character and I was stunned by [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    JNS.org – Since 2006, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable and satellite TV network has hosted “The Projected Image,” a month-long showcase examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed on the big screen. At last, after previously covering African Americans, Asians, the LGBT community, Latinos, Native Americans, Arabs, and people with disabilities, the annual series is delving into Jewish film this month. “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” whose first segment aired Sept. 2, runs [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    The sight of young girls in pinafores and young boys wearing peyos – sidelocks – dangling over their ears is a sure sign that you have entered the enigmatic precincts of the Hasidim – the pious ones. Veteran New York Times journalist Joseph Berger’s new book, THE PIOUS ONES: The World of Hasidim and their Battles with America, takes the reader on a journey into the enclaves where various sects of Jews live a seemingly outmoded way of life in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.