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      Religious Fencing Athlete Wins Landmark Case

      A religious Jewish fencing athlete has won a landmark case that may set a precedent for all Sabbath-observant athletes in Israel.
      By Hana Levi Julian
      First Publish: 10/26/2008, 10:31 AM

      Israel News Photo: (file)

      A young religious Jewish athlete in the world of fencing has won a landmark case in the Supreme Court fighting for his right to observe the Sabbath without discrimination in sports competitions.

       

      The court ruled Friday in favor of Yuval Freilich, a national champion in fencing in the under-13 category who brought a case against the national Fencing Association.

       

      The young athlete argued that the Fencing Association's recent decision to move a competition from Friday to Saturday constituted discrimination against religious Jewish athletes.

       

      Observant Jews are unable to participate in competitions because creative work is prohibited on the Jewish Sabbath, he argued.

       

      Justice Hanan Meltzer accepted his argument and ruled that the Fencing Association must award Freilich a technical victory in any competition held on Friday night or Saturday in order to allow him to advance to future competitions without violating the Sabbath. Alternatively, the association could allow Freilich to compete on Saturday night, the judge said.

       

      Attorneys said the ruling could have wide-ranging implications for the world of competitive sports in Israel.