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Jun 30, 2011

Newly Proposed Law About Sporting Events on Shabbos

A new law has been proposed in Knesset, that really should not be at all necessary. This issue should not require a new law being passed, and it should really have been standard practice in the Jewish State all along.

The newly proposed law, by MK Uri Ariel of the National Union party, would allow religious sportsmen, or any athlete that considers himself to be shomer shabbat to declare themselves as such and allow them to continue playing in the professional sports industry without being required to play on Shabbos.

Right now, almost all sporting events in Israel take place on Shabbos. That means someone religious, or even masorati - traditional who does not want to play on Shabbos, is stuck and cannot play professional sports. A number of times people have tried to petition the various leagues to change the situation to schedule most games for weekdays. The problem is not just for the athletes, but the fans as well suffer by not being able to watch games and attend games. the leagues have always rebuffed such efforts, claiming Saturday as people's only day off and the league would suffer if most games would be switched to weekdays.

As I said, this is something that should be basic. A person in the Jewish State should be able to say he keeps Shabbos and not have to make such a choice. I consider this law to be on that should be superfluous. Unfortunately it is not. I hate "religious laws" and I think they do more harm than good, as they create a lot of bad-will..

So, according to the proposed law, if it should pass, teams or athletes could declare themselves as shomrei shabbat, and the league would then not be allowed to schedule that team with any games on Shabbos. In international tournaments abroad, the league would have put forth its best efforts to try to get games scheduled on days other than Shabbos, for such athletes and teams who are shomer shabbat. (source: Ladaat)

As I said, I think this is a horrible law, and the content of it should really be standard practice anyway. Unfortunately it is not.

One way to avoid it, is by promoting a different law that would solve the problem in a different way. With the issue until now mainly being that teams were reluctant to schedule games on weekdays because of the availability of the fans, as people work and would not be able to come to games during the week, the idea of putting the "Sunday law", adopted recently by Silvan Shalom who has been working hard in recent months to drum up support for this law, into effect would solve this problem.

If Israel had a Western-style Sunday day off of work (it would require lengthening the weekday work-days by a bit to make up the lost hours), sporting events could take place on Sundays with no problem at all. That in addition to all the other benefits of creating a non-working-Sunday.

I say scrap this newly proposed law, as it should be unnecessary anyway. Instead promote a better law, a more positive (rather than negative) law of non-working-Sundays, and solve two problems for the price of one!

3 comments:

  1. If Israel had a Western-style Sunday day off of work (it would require lengthening the weekday work-days by a bit to make up the lost hours), sporting events could take place on Sundays with no problem at all. That in addition to all the other benefits of creating a non-working-Sunday.

    This could be so easily accomplished. I mean practically, not politically. Make Friday a regular work day (at least in Jewish areas, Muslim Arab areas would have the choice of making Sunday a regular work day). In the summertime, M-F would be regular days, no need to lengthen or shorten any of them. In the winter, shorten Friday by 2 hours and add half an hour to Mon - Thu. Done.

    There would be far more social benefits than just sporting events.

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  2. of course. the benefit to sporting events is not the most important thing and I dont think it would be neccessary to make such a change if it was just sporting events that was an issue.

    the benefits are great to having a Sunday off, and sporting events is just an example of many leisurely activities for which Sunday would be used, whether it is tiyulim, family bbq, family dinners, picnics, shopping, bowling, playing in the park or whatever someone chooses to do.

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