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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sports: Inspiration and Zionist experiences at Maccabiah games

The most touching testimony of the Maccabiah games was the competition of Josh Small, son of Greg Small, one of the victims of the terrible bridge accident twelve years ago at an earlier Maccabiah. He came to Israel all the way from Australia despite the tragic death of his father, or because of it:

"He only started the journey, he never finished it so I want to finish what he began," Josh Small told Australian Associated Press on Thursday. "It's what has inspired me and driven me."

Australia has competed at the Games since 1953 and will field a 400-person team this year for the 10-day games.

Josh Small, who was only seven when his father died, took up bowling at the age of 14. He'll wear his dad's uniform when he begins competing in the Maccabiah event.

"It's something I can't explain," he said. "When I bowl it feels like I have a bond with my father which drives me."

His mother, Suzanne, who suffered serious injuries in the bridge collapse, arranged a coach for Josh -- the same person who coached Greg Small.

"My mom rang him up. He usually doesn't take people under 16 but because of his relationship with dad he took me on when I was 14," Josh Small said.

Even without such tragedies, the Zionist endeavor requires dedication and devotion. Zionist experiences are often physically unpleasant and not objectively rewarding.

Daily News executive Brad Weiss visited Israel for the first time in his life (he's 35) as a participant in the Maccabiah games. He didn't win any medals. He was greeted by the infernal summer heat of Israel,  but he nonetheless found the trip inspiring. The experience you have, and how you or you  or anyone views Israel depends on what you bring with you. This is his story:

Brad Weiss would like to have won a medal at the Maccabiah Games Tuesday in Israel. Unfortunately for the Senior Account Executive-New Business Development for the Daily News, Weiss did not win any hardware. Still, the runner didn't come away empty-handed.
"The way I viewed this race coming in was that it was basically 'the cherry on top of the sundae' in terms of the whole Maccabiah experience," Weiss said in an e-mail last night. "I've made friends for a lifetime and would wholeheartedly recommend the experience to anyone that is given the opportunity to visit Israel."
Weiss finished sixth overall (fourth for men under 40) in the open division for the half marathon at the Maccabiah Games yesterday. He was one of five men running for the United States in the open division and ran a team-best time of 1:21:27. The Maccabiah Games is an international competition for Jewish and Israeli athletes.
"What an amazing experience to be here in Israel for the first time," Weiss said. "The race was one of the most difficult in terms of weather conditions that I've ever run in, not to mention the extremely hilly course."
Weiss, 35, left for Israel July 2 and had a pre-camp workout in Shefayim for before heading to Jerusalem for more training. The half marathon was run in Netanya, Israel at 11:30 a.m. yesterday in temperatures that Weiss said were about 90 degrees.
"Despite the difficulty of the race, I was able to turn to my teammate and good friend (seven miles into the race) to point out the amazing view that was straight ahead of us as the sun was setting over the sea," Weiss said. "It was a surreal moment that I just wanted to take in to soak it all up as I was realizing how lucky I am to have been blessed to be part of this whole experience."
Perhaps Weiss did not win the race, but oerhaps Weiss and the Jewish won something much more important.
Israel and Zionists all over the world need to say thank you to all the athletes who came here to participate and show their faith in Israel and the Zionist endeavor, and especially to the Australian contingent, who kept faith with Israel despite the tragedy of the bridge collapse.
Ami Isseroff

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Do the Beijing Bikini Olympics make Satan happy?

This just in from the old man himself, who was relaxing at his summer home:

"Reports that I am overjoyed by the Bikini Olympics are false. The original contestants were naked, and I didn't care all that much about that either. Actually, I get a big kick out of suicide bombers and hate mongers. Every day, I thank the perpetrators of the genocide in Darfur as well. A special place will be reserved for those who helped make it happen. I am also pretty happy with fanatics like Al Munajid, who are sure to spread hate and discord. Don't worry Munajid, there's no energy crisis in hell. Plenty of fire for you. "
A source close to Satan who refused to be named added:

Actually, Satan and everyone else here is thoroughly disgusted with the show of brotherly love and constructive achievement in Beijing. Even worse for Hell is the fact that Chinese seem to have gained a measure of freedom and are enjoying themselves. Our department of government has been planning all sorts of Hell on Earth for Chinese ever since anyone can remember. Mao, the Opium war and the Japanese invasion of Manchuria were major achievements for us. The Olympics are a real defeat. Where are all those nice starving people we used to see? What the Hell is Hell coming to anyhow, if we are reduced to smirking about Bikinis?? Give us something we can dig our fangs into.

Ami Isseroff

MEMRI - Special Dispatch Series - No. 2020 <--Document Date -->

August 12, 2008

No. 2020

Saudi Cleric Muhammad Al-Munajid Slams Beijing Olympics: Nothing Makes Satan Happier Than The 'Bikini' Olympics

Sheikh Muhammad Al-Munajid is a well-known Saudi Islamic lecturer and author. He frequently appears on Saudi TV channels and is known for issuing controversial fatwas. He previously worked in Washington, D.C. at the Saudi Embassy Islamic Affairs Department but was stripped of his diplomatic credentials. [1]

In an August 10, 2008 interview with Al-Majd TV, Al-Munajid was highly critical of the Beijing Olympics, which he called the "bikini Olympics," referring to them as "satanic."

Al-Munajid is known for his criticism of other sporting events. In a January 2005 interview, he said that soccer games "reveal nakedness," adding that women must not exercise in public because they wear "tight fitting, short" outfits to do so, and also that women are forbidden from participating in the Olympics. [2] Al-Munajid also discussed, in a July 2007 interview, how Western "beasts" use public toilets and wear colored underwear "to conceal all that filth." [3]

Following the December 2004 Southeast Asia earthquake and tsunami, in January 2005 Al-Munajid called the disaster "punishment" for sex tourism on New Year's Eve and for drunkenness on Christmas, [4] and said that Allah had "finished off the Richter scale" in vengeance against the infidel criminals. [5]

Before that, in April 2004, Al-Munajid discussed jihad, the U.S., and Iraq, calling America "Heretica" and assuring viewers that "the big explosion will come." [6]

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit

To visit the MEMRI TV page for Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-Munajid, go to

Muhammad Al-Munajid: "How come modern sports - especially women's sports - involve the exposure of private parts? It is well known that the Olympics - both in the past and the upcoming games... the world's worst display of women's clothing is the women's Olympics. No exposure of women's private parts on a global scale could make Satan happier than Olympic games that include women's sports."

Interviewer: "And in a scandalous manner..."

Muhammad Al-Munajid: "Yes. It is an enormous Satanic issue.


"One of these criminals compared a soccer team that made it to the top in Asia and traveled to Spain to the conquest of Andalusia! Allah be praised! The conquest of lands, the bringing of monotheism to these lands, where the name of Allah is uttered, where Islamic learning and scholars emerge, and where the banners of Islam are raised high - all these you compare to people chasing an inflated piece of leather?!


"Many people nowadays watch sports rather than participate in them."

Interviewer: "And this is a problem..."

Muhammad Al-Munajid: "If only they would run or move their bodies a little... All they do is sit and watch the sports channels. Some fathers come to me and ask if it is permitted to hook up just to the sports channels. It is for the kids, they say. There is pressure. Football leads to temptation. It is not an innocent sport. Take boxing, for example, or some types of so-called free[style] wrestling, which involve hitting the face, breaking bones, inflicting injuries and pain. They involve obvious bodily harm. The Prophet Muhammad said: If you beat someone, avoid the face. The Islamic jurisprudence authority banned boxing, because it involves beating in the face, which can lead to blindness, brain damage, broken bones, and even death. The beater is not held responsible, because they both consented to this, and the spectators are happy. When someone is beaten in the face and knocked down, they jump for joy.


"Wrestling involves the exposure of women's private parts. Even the promotion of the competitions is done by scantily clad women. This is done at the beginning of the match, in the middle, and at the end, or so I hear... the matches are promoted by half-naked women.


"The sport of yoga was originally a Hindu game used for divine worship. For them, practicing yoga is a means of divine worship. Whoever practices yoga today is emulating their form of worship.


"Beijing or not... I call it Bikini, anyway... because they are likely to display women in the worst possible way in these 'Bikini' Olympic games.


"What women wear in the Olympic games are among the worst clothes possible. The inventions of Satan, with regard to the exposure of the body in gymnastics, in swimming, in whatever, in tennis... Women have never gotten naked for sports like they do in the Olympics. It is aired to billions of people worldwide. The problem is not just with the spectators who are present. The whole thing is aired on TV..."

Interviewer: "And maybe the men's clothing is more modest than the women's..."

Muhammad Al-Munajid: "There's no 'maybe' about it. It is definite."

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Israeli Sandy Koufax pitches no-hitter in new Israeli baseball league

Israel's first baseball season is in full swing.
Last update - 06:21 04/07/2007   
By Haaretz Sports Staff

Australian lefty Matt Bennett pitched the Israel Baseball League's second no-hitter of the 10-day-old season to out-duel Brooklyn native Alper Ulatas Tuesday night, as the Modi'in Miracle beat the Petah Tikva Pioneers 2-0 in a game that lasted just one hour and 36 minutes.
Bennett dominated his seven innings of work, striking out 10 and giving up only one walk. Modi'in's scoring came off the bat of Californian Aaron Levin, who hit a solo home run in the fourth inning to put the Miracle up 1-0. Dominican centerfielder Adalberto Paulino added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI double. Modi'in improved to 3-2 on the season.
Ulatas gave up two runs and four hits in five-and-two-thirds innings for Petah Tikva, which dropped to 1-6.
At Yarkon Field at the Baptist Village in Petach Tikva, the Beit Shemesh Blue Sox stayed undefeated, beating the Ra'anana Express 5-0 to improve to 7-0 on the season.
Dominican right-hander Juan Feliciano pitched a complete game two-hit shutout, striking out nine and walking just two batters to improve his record to 2-0. The Blue Sox were aided by a shaky Ra'anana defense as well as the bats of star hitters Jason Rees and Johnny Lopez. Rees went 2-3 on the night with an RBI, raising his batting average to .579, and Lopez went 3-4 with a run scored putting him at .440.
Manager Ron Blomberg's club is now 2.5 games ahead of the second-place Tel Aviv Lightning.
Wednesday's games will be played at noon due to the Fourth of July celebration. It will be the Netanya Tigers vs. the Modi'in Miracle at Gezer Field, and the Beit Shemesh Blue Sox vs. the Petah Tikva Pioneers at Yarkon Sports Complex.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Euroleague Football Qualifier: Israel vs England 0-0

The football match was a moral victory for sportsmanship and fair play, since ISM tried to boycott it. It was also a "victory" of sorts for Israel, which frankly expected to be trounced, and was apparently planning on a miracle as a central part of its strategy. It helped that England was playing without some of its stars. It hurt that Yossi Benayoun has not recovered completely from an injury that sidelined him for a while. Lackluster offensive play on both sides and world class goalkeeper Dudu Awat kept the game scoreless.

Ami Isseroff

Last update - 23:08 24/03/2007
Israel, England play to 0-0 draw in Euro 2008 qualifier match
By Haaretz Service and News Agencies

Israel held England to a 0-0 draw Saturday in a European Championship qualifying game.
Needing a victory to get back in touch with the leaders, England failed to win or score for the third straight Group E game, and the pressure is building on coach Steve McClaren.
"Disappointed, frustrated," McClaren said. "To dominate the game like that, to have the chances that we did and not to score, it's disappointing and not good enough. We should have won that game."
The 4,000 traveling England fans taunted McClaren by chanting, "You don't know what you're doing."
"We got balls in the box. We got shots on target. Either it didn't fall for us or poor quality, poor finishing, poor decisions has cost us," McClaren said.
"It's two points we dropped there. We should have won that," he said.
Midway through the first half, Israel goalkeeper Dudu Awat made a one-handed catch from Wayne Rooney's header and then dived at the feet of Frank Lampard to smother the ball.
At the other end, England goalkeeper Paul Robinson dived to his right to save a powerful low shot from Toto Tamuz in the 28th minute and the 18-year-old Nigerian-born striker flashed a header just wide a minute later.
Pini Balili went close for Israel in the 56th minute when he collected a pass from Yossi Benayoun and turned to fire an 16-meter left footed shot which flew wide of the post.
Lampard forced Awat to make a diving block with a first-time volley in the 62nd and Rooney and Tal Ben Haim were both shown yellow cards for clashing with each other after they had tried to win the loose ball.
Four minutes later, Lampard's glancing header flew across the face of the Israel goal. Then Andy Johnson flicked Steven Gerrard's cross wide and Jamie Carragher headed a corner off the bar.
Substitute Jermain Defoe had a chance to snatch victory for England seven minutes from the end but Awat dashed off his line to block his shot.
Israel's coach was confident of team's chances

Israel National Team Coach Dror Kashtan on Friday expressed confidence in Israel's chances in Saturday's soccer match against England, telling reporters, "this nation knows how to fight," adding that a victory "will be possible."
Saturday's match will be the first competitive meeting between Israel and England. At Ramat Gan in 1986, England won a friendly 2-1 and the two sides played a goalless draw two years later.
McClaren needs his team to win on Saturday. Otherwise, his job and England's chances of qualifying for the 2008 championship will both be in jeopardy.
"The talking has to stop, we have to deliver on the pitch and that's what we aim to do," McClaren told reporters Friday.
England's qualifying campaign started strongly with two wins in September - 5-0 over tiny Andorra and 1-0 in Macedonia.
But England hasn't won since Owen Hargreaves broke his leg in September playing for Bayern Munich. Without the Canadian-born midfielder, England was held 0-0 at home to Macedonia and beaten 2-0 in Croatia.
England is three points behind leader Croatia in Group E, one point behind Russia and level with Israel and Macedonia. Only two teams qualify automatically. England plays Andorra in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday.
Meanwhile England called up Charlton Athletic right back Luke Young on Wednesday following a rash of injuries leading up to Saturday's game.
England is without first-choice right back Gary Neville, who has damaged ankle ligaments, while his understudy Micah Richards is doubtful for the Group E game in Ramat Gan with a calf injury.
Capped seven times, Young made his debut in a friendly with the United States in May 2005, but the 27-year-old has not played for England since a friendly win over Argentina in November that year in Geneva.
He has been drafted in as cover, should Richards not be fit in time, though McClaren has two utility defenders available in Carragher and Phil Neville.
Young is the latest addition to the squad as McClaren tries to solve a defensive puzzle on the flanks.
He drafted in left-sided midfielder/defender Gareth Barry on Monday as left backs Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge will miss out through suspension and injury respectively on Saturday.
In central defense, squad player Jonathan Woodgate is nursing a knee injury but is due to travel.
England, which has also called up striker David Nugent of second division Preston North End after losing Darren Bent, is third in the group behind Russia and leaders Croatia.
The team also faces Andorra in another qualifier Wednesday in Barcelona, a game in which Cole will return from suspension.
"This is when the pressure is on. The atmosphere will be intense and this is where we have to perform - each and every one of us," McClaren said. "I think everybody knows that."
"The players know the expectation from myself and the fans and they're the most important people. Before we look to qualify and to win anything, we have to produce a team that the fans can be proud of."
Hargreaves is back and determined to halt the slump, suggesting the Israelis won't be able to handle England's style of play.
"They're not used to playing at a high tempo, he said. If we can do that, put some pressure on them, we'll win the ball back and get the ball to our players up front, whether that be Wazza (Wayne Rooney) or whoever's playing up there to score some goals for us," Hargreaves said.
Rooney has failed to score in a competitive match since getting two goals against Croatia at the Euro 2004 tournament. The Manchester United striker is set to play up front with Everton's Andy Johnson, who hasn't scored in five England appearances.
Saturday's match will be the first competitive meeting between Israel and England. At Ramat Gan in 1986, England won a friendly 2-1 and the two sides played a goalless draw two years later.
Both teams failed to beat Croatia in their last qualifiers. Israel lost 4-3 at home in November. England's 2-0 defeat was capped by freak own goal, with goalkeeper Paul Robinson completely missing the ball as he tried to clear a backpass.
After experimenting with tactics in friendlies against the Netherlands (1-1) and Spain (a 1-0 defeat), McClaren looks set to stick with his trusted 4-4-2 formation.
Injuries and a suspension have left McClaren without fullbacks Gary Neville, Wayne Bridge, Micah Richards and Ashley Cole. Neville's brother, Phil, and Liverpool's Carragher look likely to fill in, with captain John Terry and Rio Ferdinand set to start in the center.
"We've got a strong squad. We'll have a strong team and the talking is over. We've got to perform," McClaren said.
The players of the England football team landed in Israel's Ben Gurion International airport Thursday evening, joining thousands of fans that had begun arriving in Israel in advance of Saturday's game.
The beer supply at the Herzliya hotel housing the team was doubled in anticipation of their arrival. The Israeli team is staying at a Tel Aviv hotel.
On Friday, a huge welcoming event for the English fans was held in Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv. The event included live music, food, drink and competitions.
Carlsberg provided over 10,000 liters of beer for the event.
In addition, a special "Football 4 Peace" (F4P) children's tournament, sponsored by the British Council, will be held on Friday, at the Tel-Aviv Sportek, located in Ganei Yehoshua. Thousands of British and Israeli fans are expected.

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