Shabbat Revolution in Israel

Batya Medad ,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Batya Medad
New York-born Batya Medad made aliyah with her husband just weeks after their 1970 wedding and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Political pundit, with a unique perspective, Batya has worked in a variety of professions: teaching, fitness, sales, cooking, public relations, photography and more. She has a B.S. in Journalism, is a licensed English Teacher specializing as a remedial teacher and for a number of years has been studying Tanach (Bible) in Matan. Batya blogs on Shiloh Musings and A Jewish Grandmother. ...

Shabbat Revolution in Israel

Ironically, just as Shabus, a private/cooperative type of bus service has begun in certain locations on Shabbat, the traditional Shabbat afternoon soccer games may be a thing of the past. Hundreds of professional soccer players are demanding Shabbat as their day of rest instead of the highlight of their work week.

...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.
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)

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.

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.
 

Yesterday at the 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.