Religion Magazine

Legalizing Professional Sports on Shabbos

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
Minister of Economics Chaim Katz has decided that he is going to find a way to make it legal for professional sports to be played on Shabbos.
Until now, since the foundation of the State, it has technically been illegal to play on Shabbos. The Minister of Commerce and Trade has been able to give a temporary exemption, or pass, and the issue was basically ignored by all willing parties.
source: One Sport
Katz is making a dramatic statement with this, as it means the State of Israel will legalize chilul shabbos. the change in practice is not great, as it has been happening until now anyway, but at a social level it is a statement that many will find hard to swallow.
Personally i am less bothered by his coming attempt to legalize it. The fact that it has happened for the past 70 years makes this change one in semantics alone and therefore not that important to me. Semantics are for the politicians. the reality is that it has been happening and this is not a practical change of facts on the ground.
Behadrei also calls it the breaking of the status quo, which is also an argument I am less than impressed with. For the same reason - it might have been illegal, but for the past nearly 70 years the leagues have all played on Shabbos. The change in status quo is on paper alone. Facts on the ground will not have changed on iota.
What bothers me more, or surprises me more, is that recently there has been a trend to try to accommodate religious and traditional athletes, with teams moving games to weekdays from Shabbos. Ministers in recent years have spoken about the need to move games when possible, to be more inclusive of the religious and traditional communities, of fans and athletes alike. It seemed, to me at least, that we were heading on the path of the leagues moving away from Shabbos, and suddenly we are seeing an act that will likely solidify the league's hold on Shabbos for years to come.
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