Deri, Cohen Tzedek, Benny Elbaz
Deri, Cohen Tzedek, Benny Elbaz Shas Chairman's Office

Yair Cohen Tzedek, the soccer player whose insistence on wearing a kippah during league games was recently at the center of controversy, was warmly received Sunday by Shas party chairman Aryeh Deri, who commended his for “fighting for Jewish identity” on the soccer field.

The Soccer Federation ruled Thursday that Cohen Tzedek -- and players in general -- may not wear a kippah during games, but took back its decision the next day following public outcry, and said that players would be allowed to wear kippot at least until then end of the season. Cohen Tzedek went on the field with the kippah on his head and proceeded to score an amazing goal, too.

Cohen Tzedek said that the game on Friday was an emotional experience: “I was very moved when all of the team's players joined my struggle and wore kippot alongside me, as a way of identifying with my struggle,” he told Shas MKs. “Even players from the rival Arab team got on the field with kippot as a sign of identification, and many fans, too, put on kippot, in what was a very emotional experience for me, and ended with a goal straight from Heaven.”

Deri told Cohen Tzedek that he will assist him, following the announcement by the Soccer Federation. “I intend to inform Federation Chairman Avi Luzon that it is unthinkable that the Jewish state will forbid its sons from wearing Jewish garb that its forefathers fought for in the face dictatorial regimes. I am certain that Avi Luzon will comply with my request, but if he does not, we will also resort to legislative measures to approve this in law.”

Deri said that Cohen Tzedek for the way he has joined the soccer world without giving in to secular dictates. “Every person carries out his destiny, and G-d intended for you to play soccer. You have sanctified the Name of Heaven and have stirred the emotions of many Jews, myself included.”

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