Rivlin: Sabbath Soccer Should Continue

September 9, 2015  

President Reuven Rivlin opposes the demand to stop Israel’s professional soccer leagues from playing on Sabbaths.

In an interview with Army Radio, Rivlin said that “the Israeli routine” is to attend synagogue Sabbath (Saturday) morning and then head for the soccer stadium.

An avid soccer fan since his youth and a former member of Betar Jerusalem’s management, Rivlin noted that Jerusalemites’ stadium of choice used to be the one next to the YMCA, but that this stadium no longer exists, and has been supplanted by Teddy and other stadiums.

This Sabbath routine, which has taken root over decades, is the true status quo between secular and religious, he argued. A new situation should not be created without wide agreement.

Legal expert Prof. Aviad Hacohen, Dean of Shaarei Mada Umishpat Academic College, told Arutz Sheva that playing on Sabbaths is a violation of the law, a fact that renders the “status quo” devoid of meaning. “There is no sanctty in the status quo that was never anchored in Israeli law,” he said. “Israel has a law that forbids work on Sabbaths, and as long as that is the law I should hope that we will abide by it.”

All soccer games in Israel’s Premier League and National League may be cancelled following the expiration of the ultimatum set by the Soccer Federation and the Leagues’ Administration for a decision regarding Sabbath games. The ultimatum was set for Monday, and the Gambling Council has already decided not to include this Saturday’s soccer games in this week’s Toto lottery forms.

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