Ben-Dahan: Sports on Shabbat Discriminates Against Religious

June 28, 2015  

Avishai Brett, who has sued the Israel Shooting Federation over being allowed to participate in the Israeli air-rifle shooting championship finals, met Sunday with Deputy Defense Minister, Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan.

Brett, who is observant, is demanding to be allowed to participate in the finals, as he has earned his way there – but has been told that he cannot compete unless he does so in the official event, which is set to take place on Shabbat.

MK Ben-Dahan, a rabbi who was formerly a semi-professional soccer player, told Brett that he, too, had faced the same dilemma when he sought to “move up” to the higher level leagues in Israeli soccer, where almost all professional games are played on Shabbat. “This is a matter of blatant discrimination,” Ben-Dahan said. “This is the Jewish State, yet Jews who observe the Sabbath are banned from participating in sporting events.”

Ben-Dahan said he had spoken with Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev, asking for her assistance in the matter. The case is now before an independent arbitrator, and Ben-Dahan said he hoped the matter “will be resolved in a manner that promises equality of opportunity.”

Brett, he said, “simply wishes to do his best for himself and his country. Israel is a democracy, but Jewish values play an important role in our society,” he added.

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