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Peres Chooses Shabbat Over Olympics

Jul 10, 2012 at 05:54:39 PM

One of my favorite themes is the unique Jewish character of the State of Israel. We should take pride in the fact that most public transportation takes a break on Shabbat, that the Army keeps kosher, and that all government offices have a mezuzah on the doorpost.

On the other hand, I wish there were more individual displays of classical Jewish (as opposed to "Israeli") pride by the country's political leaders.

So imagine my thrill at the news that Israeli President Shimon Peres will be skipping the festive opening ceremonies of the London Olympics – because they extend past sundown on Friday night (July 27).

Peres had sought to avoid the conflict by sleeping overnight in the Olympic Village. Yet despite numerous appeals to the Olympic Committee, his request was rejected on the grounds that only "athletes" are allowed to overnight in the village.

I guess organizers consider the 88-year-old too big a security risk.

Though Peres is not personally observant, he does not travel publicly on Shabbat out of respect for millennia-old Jewish tradition and in deference to his role as representative of the Jewish State.

It appears to me that Peres' decision to forgo the opening ceremonies will have a far more positive impact on the Israel public than anything he could have gained by attending them.

Interesting to note a historical precedent: When the original Greek Olympics were featuring athletes running and jumping stark naked, the Jews were teaching the importance of looking past physical externalities and into the deeper spiritual values.

In this instance, Shimon Peres has sent that same message again. Kudos!

July 10, 2012

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 3

(3) THE SARGE, Brooklyn, U.S.A., July 13, 2012 6:00 PM

Buchk The Olypmic Committee

First the Hon. Pres Shimon Perz should be congulatedf for standing up for Jewishness. May his obserence level increase. The Israeli Olympic should appoint Pres. .Pertz as a member of the Israeli Olympic team so that he can spend the night in the Village and attend the openining cerermonies.

(2) Deborah, July 11, 2012 9:59 PM

Christian Sundays in UK

I don't imagine opening the games on a Sunday would bother the UK government at all. They did away with our Pentecost holiday many years ago and this year used it to have an extended Bank Holiday for the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

(1) Michal, July 11, 2012 10:45 AM

kol hakavod!

I find it good, that our President shows that he is a Jew. What would the Anglican Christians say, if the Olympics in London would start exactly, while they should be in church. Only the Nazis did that. Why the Olympic comitty stays on their side with this, I don't understand. Perhaps Jews are fewer and not so important??? If there wouldn't have been Jews, there would be no Christianity at all. - Yes, we can be proud, when our President shows the whole world: Jews exist!!! If you like it nor not.

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