State recommends curtailing Shabbat soccer

AG promotes gradual Shabbat soccer game reduction while finding solutions for religious players as long as Shabbat games continue.

Ido Ben-Porat ,

Flash 90

The State submitted a response to a Supreme Court conditional order requiring it to explain, among other things, why it has not canceled former Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein's decision not to enforce the law prohibiting holding soccer matches on Shabbat.

The state believes that the issue is complex and sensitive, and is not given to immediate, global solutions, and that the former Attorney General's temporary decision not to change the decades-old non-enforcement policy when it comes to Shabbat soccer games is a ''reasonable, relevant policy", and that actually changing the situation in practice would be the unreasonable course of action.

The issue was brought to the current Attorney General, Dr. Avichai Mandelblit, who also holds that at this time there is no room to deviate from the non-enforcement policy.

The state's response says that the Attorney General favors implementing the interim recommendations of the inter-ministerial team that was set up, and to effect a gradual reduction of Shabbat soccer games on the one hand, while finding solutions for religious players as long as Shabbat games continue, on the other.

In addition, the current legal adviser believes that the best way to regulate soccer activity is by granting a general permit, and that the Prime Minister announce his intention to reconvene the Ministerial Committee assembly authorized to consider granting a general permit for employment in soccer during the weekly day of rest, and to convene the assembly within two months.

"In this situation, the Attorney General's position acquires exceptional validity, since there is no point in changing a longstanding policy just as an examination of the possibility of granting permits is about to occur," writes the state.

All things considered, writes the state, action to reduce Shabbat soccer games while finding solutions for religious players on the one hand, and considering the possibility of issuing a Shabbat soccer permit, in order to legitimize activities which will take place on Shabbat even after the reduction on the other hand - the Attorney General's position is that his soccer enforcement policies are practical and reasonable, and there is no room to intervene and accept the petition.