Soccer on Shabbat debate heats up in Israel

The National League match between Ashdod SC and Bnei Lod scheduled for Saturday afternoon was postponed on Thursday after Labor Court judge Ariela Giltzer-Katz ruled that players can’t be forced to play during Shabbat, a decision which could have major repercussions on Israeli soccer and sports as a whole.

Hundreds of players signed a petition demanding that matches won’t be played on Shabbat and Giltzer-Katz decided that until the sides meet again in court to try and resolve the matter on September 7, National League games shouldn’t be held during the Jewish day of rest.

As a result, Saturday’s game between Ashdod and Lod in the opening weekend of action and next week’s match between Maccabi Herzliya and Hapoel Petah Tikva will be played at later dates. In the past two years, National League matches have been held on Friday and Monday, but the league decided earlier this week to play every weekend’s main match on Saturday afternoon.


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