Haredi media: World Cup 'waste of time'
As country excitedly watches World Cup, soccer tournament not covered by ultra-Orthodox media outlets. Mishpacha editor tells Ynet, 'The values we strive for are ethics, spiritual living, and principled living. World Cup symbolizes opposite. It is just like any other addiction'
The National Religious and the haredi sectors are not celebrating the World Cup. Despite thousands of haredi and National Religious yeshiva students who will occupy themselves in the coming months with the results of World Cup matches, nothing has been written of the international soccer tournament in the haredi press.
Rabbi Moshe Grylak, editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem-based haredi newspaper Mispacha, told Ynet that the World Cup will not be mentioned in his newspaper, except, perhaps, in opinion pieces criticizing the tournament and the waste of time they embody.
"We have no problem with sports for developing the body," he explained. "But this isn't a business issue and the drunkenness of the masses over 'the guy who made a goal.' I was in Brazil when Pele was big, and people committed suicide when they lost. The values that we strive for are ethics, spiritual living, and principled living, and this is against this is adverse to this in the fullest sense of the word. It is like any other addiction."
Grylak also said that the tournament does not create happiness, but superficial glee: "Joy is something internal. In this case, this is glee that comes at someone else's expense, and we are seeking joy for everyone. It's better than opening fire, but the addiction bothers us, not to speak of the waste of time. The sports sections all delve into the surrounding gossip – who is going out with whom and where. It already has nothing to do with sports."
'If the Israeli national team played on Shabbat…'
Moti Lavi, the main newscaster for Kol Chai radio, told Ynet that the station does not address the World Cup.
"We do not deal at all with the topic o the World Cup, unless the Israel national team would play on Shabbat, then we would address the issue from this angle," he said.
The final match will not be broadcast on the radio, and the results will not be reported to listeners during news segments. According to Lavi, "If there were a Jewish player in the final match who said 'Shema Yisrael' like Yehuda Saado did on the Kochav Nolad (Israel's version of American Idol) final, we would mention it. The game in and of itself is of no interest to the haredi public. Therefore, we do not cover it."
Listeners from the National Religious will be compelled to listen to other stations in order to obtain information on the World Cup matches. "The National Religious public knows ahead of time that it will not receive reports on the World Cup from us," said Lavi.
According to Lavi, sports embody some positive and some negative elements. In an effort to understand what is not good about sports, Lavi said, "Ask the women in Israel and see what they tell you."
The National Religious public is not entirely ignoring the World Cup, which even receives mention among the Torah sermons written up in various pamphlets distributed in synagogues on Shabbat. Advertisements for snacks mentioning the World Cup also appear in these pamphlets.
According to Ofer Maoz, the editor of Gilui Da'at, his newspaper has yet to decide whether to cover the World Cup. However, a tournament-related advertisement has been included.
"We put the ad on the last page. In general, we do address secular topics from a religious angle, and there is a chance that the World Cup will be mentioned in the pamphlet by a religious figure or in a religious context," he said.
According to him, the religious public is interested in the World Cup, "and, therefore, we will try to address the subject in a manner appropriate to synagogue pamphlets."