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Haredim Offer to Purchase Jerusalem Soccer Team, Impose Weekday Only Schedule

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Chairman of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club Itzik Kornfein said in an interview with Israel TV’s sports channel that a number of Haredi businessmen from “Belgium, London and Russia” have expressed their desire to invest money in his team, on one condition: that Beitar would not play on Shabbat.

Kornfein also mentioned Israeli maverick millionaire Rami Levy, who also wants to buy the team if it would not play on Shabbat. He said: “I have no problem not playing on Shabbat, on the contrary, [I'm all for it]. I sent letters to [league president] Avi Luzon and [media content company] Charlton on the matter. We have many traditional-Jewish fans and itr comes down to five games a year altogether.”

Kornfein envisions combining a deal with Rami Levy and the Haredi investors. “Ramy is an honest and fair businessman. We’ll have to put things on the table from our side and see what happens.”

In his interview with the sports channel, Kornfein spoke openly about the mental fatigue he felt at what had been his vain attempts to recruit buyers for the Jerusalem team and save it from bankruptcy.

In January, Beitar Jerusalem was the target of angry criticism by religious season ticket holders who missed part of a crucial game with the team’s arch-rivals, the Arab team from Beit Sichnin. The original game time was set for 5:15 PM, but out of consideration for religious fans game time was postponed to 5:40. Except the Shabbat ended only at 5:45.

The fans accused Charlton of scheduling an early start to make room for their later, popular feed from the English soccer leagues.

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About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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