Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel SmotrichNoam Revkin Fenton/Flash90

Religious Zionism party chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich sent a letter Monday to the chairman of the Minhelet HaLiga (Israel Football Association) demanding that he end the practice of holding soccer games on Shabbat.

"Holding games on Shabbat constitutes an exclusion [of religious fans] which must stop. This is undemocratic, unsportsmanlike, and un-Jewish," Smotrich league director Erez Kalfon.

"It is very unfortunate to see that, for you, new audiences do not include the audience of fans who observe Shabbat and keep the tradition in Israel. You chose to blatantly ignore a large audience of players, children and families.

Smotrich wrote that "the exclusion of half of the Israeli public from football (soccer) both as spectators and as active participants must stop."

"In the last year and a half, we met with the representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Sports with the desire to open the gates and end this exclusion of the children and families who observe Shabbat. It seems that the minister and the ministry do not have the will to end this exclusion.