The Beitar Jerusalem soccer team announced that it will stop playing on Shabbat in order to allow its religious and traditional fans to attend team home games.
Home games will be held on Saturday nights or weekdays, according to the announcement by the team’s new owner Eli Tabib.
Beitar Jerusalem made headlines earlier this year when the signing of two Chechen Muslims, leading to fan protests and the torching of the team’s trophy room. Fans also attacked several Arabs at Jerusalem’s Malha Mall earlier this year.
Last night I was stuck in Jerusalem traffic (Jerusalem was designed to handle 400 vehicles, give or take a horse-drawn buggy, and is invaded each weekday by a million motorists), and because I always think of you, dear reader, my radio was tuned to Reshet Bet to catch the news (Kol Israel has a new news edition on the hour and the half hour, and if we’re not careful they’re perfectly ready to do minute 15 and 45, too). The 5 PM news had two items that would have made me fall off my seat laughing under normal conditions, and I’m not sure which one should be delivered first—my instinct says to go with the individual and move up to the group story.
Believe it or not, “Robbery by note” is a regular crime category in Israel. It involves a guy walking into a bank, presenting the teller with a note demanding a certain amount of money, and the teller gives it over.
Yes, it’s just like the bank robbery scene from Woody Allen’s “Take the Money and Run.”
Yesterday, in Ashdod, the robber’s note read: “This is a robbery.” He passed this note to a bank teller in the city’s A Quarter. The teller handed over to the robber—whom he assumed was armed, but that part is not at all clear—the amount of money he had on hand, and soon after, the robber disappeared.
Estimates are that the robber walked away with tens of thousands of shekels, which is a very good pay for writing such a short note. I mean, for that kind of money I’d expect several typed pages with an executive summary, but I would be wrong.
On January 29, the same thing took place in the city of Lod, where the robber submitted a written request for 20 thousand shekels, the teller happened to have that amount on hand, placed it in a handsome envelope and gave it to the man.
It was all shot on a smartphone by a waiting customer and shown on Channel 10 News.
So that’s one great way of making a living from writing in Israel.
THE WAGES OF RACISM
On Thursday, three days before the soccer match between Beitar Jerusalem and the team representing the Arab town of Sakhnin, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, and the Israel Sports Betting Board, transferred to Beitar the amount of 200 thousand shekels to help the team with its action against violence and racism that have recently exploded among some fans—in reaction to the addition of two Muslim players from Chechnya (Chech players?) Zaor Sdayeb and Jibril Kdayeb.
As you may recall, several Beitar Jerusalem fans expressed their firm objection to the addition of non-Jewish players to their favorite team by carrying a huge sign, big enough to be seen by the NY Times, with the immortal phrase: “Beitar Pure Forever.”
Yes, if you’re thinking “How Aryan is that?” your parents haven’t wasted all that Hebrew day school tuition money for naught.
But now, as it turns out, writing those three words on a banner and raising that banner in full view of the world media (which, I’ll admit, is harder than just jotting a note and handing it to a teller) can yield a very nice return on your efforts. I mean, that’s better than $50 thousand for one afternoon’s work. It even beats robbing banks, where you have to schlep from one bank to another with your note before you can put together that kind of cash.
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.
Guma Aguiar, a Florida businessman and philanthropist who has given millions to Jewish nonprofit organizations, is missing.
Aguiar, the CEO of Leor Energy who lives in Fort Lauderdale, was last seen around 7:30 PM Tuesday. His 31-foot boat washed ashore in Fort Lauderdale early Wednesday morning, according to reports.
A close friend of Aguiar, Rabbi Moshe Meir Lipszyc, said he was shocked when the family called him to tell him that Aguiar was missing.
“He’s a very special person, he has a great heart and he helps people across the world,” Lipszyc told NBC-TV in Miami on Wednesday. “He has a heart as big as this world; I cannot say enough good about him.”
In 2009, Aguiar gave $8 million to the pro-aliyah group Nefesh B’Nefesh and $500,000 to March of the Living, which takes high school-aged Jews to Poland to see Holocaust sites. He also became a fixture of Israeli sports pages when he became the main sponsor of the Israeli Premier League soccer team Beitar Jerusalem.
While Aguiar, who has a Jewish mother, did not grow up with much of a Jewish background, he later returned to Judaism and has made large gifts to Jewish and Israeli causes. He made his fortune in natural gas in Texas.