Jul 16, 2009
The Games Must go on!
Maccabiah Softball is back in business!
They worked out all their issues, got through the bureaucracy, and got that last piece of paper they needed. I guess they realized how bad press this could be, and how damaging for future Maccabiahs or other international events...
Unfortunately, some of the athletes are upset and disturbed by what happened.. and even said:
Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke at the opening ceremony imploring the world's top Jewish athletes to move to Israel, and the very next day the police storm a field to break up a softball game over some bureaucratic bull***t," exclaimed Israel team member Michael Hochman.
"How does that play well for anybody?"
Even more painful to hear, from an enraged foreign softball player who was one of hundreds to shell out thousands of dollars for the opportunity to represent their countries at the Maccabiah in the Jewish homeland:
"I will NOT be making aliya. After four years of training, this nonsense has made my decision very easy. It was easy for the Maccabiah to take our money, and now they have housed us an hour away, and much worse, they did not make sure to be well organized. What a shame. We are totally disgusted and many people1s plans have been ruined...This really hurts," said the player who did not want to give her name.
Why did all this have to go down like this?
Indeed, the timing of the legal enforcement by the municipality - in the middle of an Israel-Mexico game during an event that is widely-viewed as the perfect opportunity to extol Israel's virtues to visitors from abroad rather than expose them to its murky administrative underbelly - seems peculiar at best, even suspicious.
However, those in charge of the decision maintained that there is no evil agenda at play and there was ample warning given that games would be halted if a business license wasn't1t secured.
"The Maccabiah and the Baptist Village were well aware of what had to be completed," explained Petah Tikva spokesperson Hezi Hakak.
"They just chose not take care of things in a timely matter."
Asked why this licensing issue never became an issue before at the Baptist Village, which has hosted a pair of previous Maccabiahs as well as 2007's professional Israel Baseball League, Hakak stated, "you cannot ask why we didn't enforce things properly in the past. There are very good and well-established reasons for requiring venues with a certain amount of people in attendance to have a business license to operate. This is not a new law and the blame for the games being canceled cannot be shifted to the municipality of Petah Tikva."
Regardless of what happened and who is to blame, fortunately the snafu has been corrected in time to accommodate the entire softball schedule.