Cleveland Cavaliers Israeli Head Coach David Blatt: ‘This War is Israel’s Most Justified War I Can Remember’

August 1, 2014 3:01 pm 9 comments

Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt after winning the Eurochampionships. Photo: Getty / Screenshot

Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt after winning the Eurochampionships. Photo: Getty / Screenshot

David Blatt, the new head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, and the first Israeli to lead a professional U.S. basketball team, said Israel was justified in its war against Hamas and the other terrorist groups in Gaza, in an interview with Israel’s Globes published on Friday.

When asked if he supports Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, Blatt said, “Absolutely. In my opinion, this war is Israel’s most justified war I can remember in recent years.”

“I‘m really sorry about what’s happening in Gaza, but there’s no doubt that we had to act there, so that Israel will have quiet there once and for all, and we can live in peace,” Blatt said, who added that he is “uncomfortable” not being in Israel during this war.

“I’ve always been in Israel at the hardest times,” he said. “Since Operation Protective Edge began, I feel being in Israel is the most natural thing for me to do. My work is here, though, and I have to get ready for the coming season.”

“It’s not easy for me when I’m constantly thinking about what’s happening in Israel,” Blatt said. “My two older daughters happen to be on their global post-[Israeli] army service tour, my son is overseas playing in in the European Youth Basketball Championship, and my youngest daughter is also out of the country for a few days. They’re all returning to Israel, though, and I’m planning on seeing them again at the beginning of August.”

“I had a plane ticket with Delta Airlines, but I changed to El Al as soon as Delta canceled its flights on to Israel,” he said, referring to the 24-hour flight ban imposed by the U.S. FAA last week.

Recent polls showed that 70 per cent of Americans do not believe that Hamas is justified in its war against Israel, the same poll showed only 42 per cent believe Israel is justified against Hamas. Blatt said, “There’s support, although sometimes it’s not enough. In my opinion, though, there’s more support this time than before.”

In an interview published by The Algemeiner last month, Blatt, 55, described growing up in Framingham, a suburb of Boston, listening to the iconic raspy radio voice of Johnny Most, the long-time announcer for the Boston Celtics, led by Jewish coach Red Auerbach, who won nine NBA championships in 10 years.

Blatt went to college at Princeton University, where he majored in English literature and played basketball for legendary coach Pete Carril. In his sophomore year, Blatt was recruited to play in the summer league for the basketball team at Kibbutz Gan Shmuel, in Israel.

“I really had not had designs on making Aliyah growing up or well into my college experience, but I was invited to spend a summer in Israel by a nice gentlemen and a coach in Israel who saw me play with Princeton, and I fell in love with Israel,” Blatt said. “That was a life-changing experience because I ended up spending 33 years there.”

Blatt immigrated to Israel as a basketball player when he was 22. After a successful career as a player, he went on to become the coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv, which he led to a stunning comeback victory from a 15-point deficit against CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague semifinals in May. Their next game was another upset victory in the championships over Real Madrid, sparking jubilant celebrations across Israel.

A month after the Maccabi victory, Blatt announced plans to leave the Israeli team to pursue his dream of coaching in the NBA. A week later he was hired by the Cavaliers, becoming the first coach to move directly from the European leagues into an NBA head-coaching job.

The Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t won an NBA championship since the team was founded 1970, but Blatt’s young squad will be helped this year by another high-profile signing, LeBron James, 29, a 6’8″, 250 pound forward, and Akron, Ohio, native, who many consider to be the greatest player in the game.  James left the Cavaliers in 2010 to pursue his championship dream  which he achieved playing for the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013.

“Obviously we are all thrilled to have LeBron coming back home,” Blatt said. “It’s great for our team, it’s great for the city of Cleveland, and it’s great for the state of Ohio.”

Blatt said James “raises the bar, without question, in terms of his greatness as a player, his ability to raise those around him, as well as his character and his drive to succeed, and his ability to play the game at a high standard and high team standards.”


9 Comments

  • If you google the term “pallywood” and read at least 3 websites on it david blatts views could be understood perfectly

  • Maybe he can go fight for Israel after he gets fired in the next season or 2!!

  • Catherine Coy

    I stand with Israel.

  • Agree totally. Off the bastards. Sending mistakes into Israel. What do they expect ?

  • @am. Please. If you don’t think there is suffering on Gaza then you clearly have your head on the sand. Some of the most vocal anti-Israel rhetoric has come from the un, a neutral organisation plus they are the ones reporting civilian deaths. Hamas are evil, but Israel are hardly spotless.

    @Elizabeth. I haven’t read his comments so cant fully comment on them. All I will say though is that criticising Israel does not make someone an anti-semite. This war too often has people siding with one side based on nothing more than religion.

  • I don’t see how anyone could logically trust Hamas’s fatality statistics. It amazes me to see how freely these stats are marketed, without any filter at all. Time Magazine just did a write up about this last week, and showed how the ages of the dead can’t possibly be true – demographically. They are highly exaggerated, and therefore not reliable – in terms of actual numbers dead (and age of the so-called victims). This has been proved time and time again. Also, the Palestinian kids know how to perform for the cameras. Look carefully, the next time they show them on TV. There are many times where their fake crying is almost laughable. Some can be seen waiting for the cameras to focus, and then suddenly crying. Also, a lot of the footage keeps looping over and over.

  • I love you so so much.

    • One interesting buried fact about the NBA racist Sterling, is he has a very very very long history of hating Israel, this is purposely buried because it doesn’t fit this antisemitic world’s narrative, he has made at least 100 anti-Israel public comments, while the one who fined him, and said very sternly there is no place for racism in the NBA, is Jewish like Sterling and he and his parents like Israel.

Leave a Reply

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


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz said on Wednesday that he will not eat anything between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday in observation of Yom Kippur, ESPN reported. “If I was playing, I wouldn’t fast, because I’ve got to be able to fuel myself to play,” said the Jewish athlete, who is on short-term leave due to a toe injury. “But it’s not that tough, really. I’ll eat dinner at 5:00 Friday, then I’ll go to services and I’ll just [...]

    Read 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 →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.