...Labor Court judge Ariela Giltzer-Katz ruled that players can't be forced to play during Shabbat, a decision which could have major repercussions on Israeli soccer and sports as a whole.When Israel was a smaller less technological country, many of the Shabbat observant would make their way to their local soccer fields on Shabbat with prepaid tickets to watch a game. In those days, not only were cellphones unheard of, but not everyone had a phone at home, and even cameras were rare. So a surprising, to the standards of today's Sabbath observers, amount of kippot could be seen in the crowds.
Hundreds of players signed a petition demanding that matches won't be played on Shabbat and Giltzer-Katz decided that until the sides meet again in court to try and resolve the matter on September 7, National League games shouldn't be held during the Jewish day of rest. (Jerusalem Post)
|Beitar Jerusalem playing in the YMCA field in central King David Street|
Any Jerusalem neighborhood was walking distance to the YMCA field on King David Street. And the lines between religious, non-religious and traditional were quite blurred then in ways they aren't today. Also, there was less confidence in the Bnai Akiva dati le'umi crowd about demanding rights to observe Shabbat. Army heros were then the secular kibbutznikim, not those who wore kippot and tzitziyot.
4th Shiloh Conference, Rabbi Eli Sadan, founder of the thriving mechina, Bnai David, The Military Yeshiva Academy of Israel in Eli mentioned the changes in Israeli society mentioned profound changes in Israeli society when it comes to religion and nationalism. I see the ramifications of this also in the sports fields today. Today's IDF has many more officers, male and female, who are Torah observant, and a very high percentage of its heroes alive and dead, also come from Israel's religious community.
And unlike any other time in Jewish History, it's now "in" to become religious, Torah observant, and demand one's rights to observe the Sabbath.