The Israeli sports scene continues to be hit hard due to the Hamas attack on Israel as more and more stories continue to come out since the start of the war this past Shabbat.
However, David Blatt, the former head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Maccabi Tel Aviv posted a huge statement of support and the key to victory.
“United we stand, divided we fall. I wish all the courage and the strength to overcome our pain and our enemies. Now is not the time to play the blame game or to fight internal political battles. We have immediate and bigger challenges. Our children and our parents and our brothers and sisters are being held hostage. Our fathers and mothers and grandparents and friends have been slaughtered in the streets and in their homes.”
“Our people and our land are under constant attack. Our way of life is in danger of disappearing. Wake up world! Today it is here, tomorrow it is in your backyard. This is real, call it Hamas, call it ISIS, call it terrorism. This is a battle for humanity.”
Blatt continued, “Join hands and hearts, put aside all your petty disagreements for a day, for a week, for a year. Save our country and our way of life. Be a sportsman, know what it is to face the adversary, to join hands, to offer support in any way we can to our friends and teammates. To give a helping hand to those that need. Let’s be that. At this time to fight to save our people, tomorrow we fight to save our way of life. The ability to live free, the security for our loved ones and for all. Look past the internal quarrels, protect our future as a human race. The struggle is real. United we stand, divided we fall.”
Always wise words from David Blatt as he talks about the war, Hamas and Israel. pic.twitter.com/Ejylg74s6N
— Sports Rabbi (@thesportsrabbi) October 10, 2023
Liel Abada, who plays for Celtic in Scotland will most probably have to leave the club due to the overwhelming support of Hamas by the club’s fans. While the franchise itself has tried to distance themselves from these fans Abada’s days in Glasgow seem to be numbered. Nir Bitton who used to wear the hoops kit has lashed out hard at the supporters but the situation is untenable at this point which will most probably lead to the striker’s departure.
A fan group called Celts Against Anti-Semitism have put out a strong statement, however, it will not be enough to keep Abada at Celtic Park.
“As Jewish individuals perished in their streets and homes, a section of Celtic Park seemed to rejoice in their deaths under the Hamas flag while celebrating the terror groups supposed ‘resistance’,” the pro-Israel Celtic fan group wrote.
“What act of resistance is murdering more than 200 innocent civilians at a music concert for the simple crime of being Jewish? Raising the Hamas flag was not an act of solidarity for the legitimate, noble goal of an internationally recognized sovereign Palestinian state, but rather, a celebration of an anti-Semitic pogrom executed by Jihadists.”
UEFA has officially rescheduled Israel’s Euro 2024 match against Switzerland at home to November 15th, but the blue-and-white brass are well aware that the chances of the game actually being played at Bloomfield Stadium is close to nil and will need to be played in another country. This will not be unprecedented as Israeli clubs have had to play in Cyprus or Greece and other locales over the last 20+ years since joining UEFA when there had been conflict in the country.
However, both FIFA and UEFA have yet to come out with a strongly worded statement in support of Israel and against terrorism to the dismay of many involved in the soccer world.
Many athletes in Israel went to social media to share their feelings about United State President Joe Biden staring support of the State of Israel.
Yael Arad who won Israel’s first Olympic Medal and is now the chairperson of the country’s Olympic committee wrote, “America stands with Israel, with humanity.” Olympic medalist Ark Zeevi also commented, “This was so emotional that I am crying.” Soccer player Tal Ben Chaim said, “This was one of the most emotional speeches in history.”
Daniel Peretz who made a very well publicized move from Maccabi Tel Aviv to giants Bayern Munich went to Instagram and said, “On Saturday, Israel experienced a brutal and murderous terrorist attack. We all envisioned and will continue to witness, inhumane images of massacres of hundreds of young people who spent time at a party, entire families executed, the elderly and infants being taken into captivity. This is only a small part of the monstrous atrocities committed by Hamas. Among the murdered are also dozens of foreign citizens. In the face of the absolute evil that confronts us, Israel is a beacon of strength, power and hope. Israel stands up to this evil with all of our might – and we will win. I stand with my country.”
A number of high profile athletes have come out in support of Israel including world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather who is sending his private jet loaded with supplies for the IDF, “I stand with Israel and Jews all around the world. I condemn antisemitism at all cost. I stand for Peace. I stand for Human Rights! Terrorism Is Never The Answer!”
Hapoel Holon BC coach Amit Sherf has also been called up to serve in the IDF and his role will be to link the municipality and the home front command in emergency cases should rockets fall or when sirens go off.”