Monday, February 3, 2014

Football (Soccer) in the Holy Land 80 Years Ago Was a Religious & Political Issue -- Version of an Earlier Posting

Original caption "Police intercede in Orthodox attempt to break up the Maccabee football game" (1930s)
The neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo in northern Jerusalem is known for the dust-up between Israel and the U.S. Administration several years ago when Israel announced plans for expansion of the ultra-Orthodox housing project.

Aerial photo of the sports field, adjacent to the ultra-Orthodox Meah
She'arim neighborhood (1931).  See a view of
the bleachers here, and the field here.
Originally, Jerusalem's legendary mayor Teddy Kollek planned that the area, known as the Shuafat ridge, would house a 50,000-seat football stadium, sports facilities and tennis courts.

But access to the stadium would have to be through Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, and Sabbath protests and demonstrations were a certainty.

"Crowd of mixed Orthodox Jews who arrived on the scene en
masse to force the discontinuing of the Maccabee football game"

Eventually, the stadium was built in southern Jerusalem near Malcha, and the Shuafat ridge became part of a contiguous stretch of ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods.

The Sabbath tensions over public sports games on Saturdays were documented by the American Colony photographers some 80 years ago. 

Some of the photographs identify the field as "near Bokharbia," meaning near the Bukhari Jewish neighborhood adjacent to Meah She'arim.

"Close-up of an Orthodox Jew in the  crowd."  View another close-up with
the police - here (1930s)

The decades-old issue of Sabbath observance in Jerusalem suggests that this dispute may indeed not be resolvable; rather, like other conflicts in the Middle East, the best one could hope for is that it would be manageable.

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