Israeli Lacrosse Team Refuses to Play on Shabbat, Forced to Forfeit Match
An Israeli lacrosse team playing in the under-19s Women’s World Championship in Scotland was forced to forfeit a match for refusing to play on the Jewish Sabbath, the U.K.’s Jewish Chronicle reported on Tuesday.
The Israeli team, made up of 15 and 16-year-old players, arranged with their Finnish opponents to move Saturday’s match up to Wednesday. Israel lost 8-0 to Finland but tournament organizers ruled the game invalid because it was not played on Saturday, according to the report.
Finland was awarded a 12-0 walkover but Israel is appealing against the decision.
Israel Lacrosse founder Scott Neiss wrote to the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) in April asking for the game to be moved and offering to pay any costs associated with the change of date. He penned the request mere days after the schedule for the Edinburgh competition was announced.
“As you know Israel cannot play on Saturday. Finland has agreed to play us on Monday and we are willing to pay for any costs associated with this scheduling request,” Neiss said. “We feel there is no rational basis to not allow this game to take place on Monday.”
FIL denied the request citing the need for a “common rest day” and reminding Israel that “no member country has the authority to request any notation to the schedule.”
A spokesperson for Israel Lacrosse said that following FIL’s response, “we felt our best option was to play the match on Wednesday, the day before the opening ceremony.”
“We’re saddened by their inability to accommodate what we feel is a reasonable request. Hopefully good sense will prevail,” the spokesperson said.