Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days for the Jewish people, will cost the Israel Tennis Association (ITA) a lot of money this year. The ITA has been forced to pay the Belgian Tennis Association a fine of €10,000 (about $13,340) for the Davis Cup team's refusal to play on the Day of Atonement.
The Israeli national tennis team is playing the Belgium national tennis team this September in Antwerp, in the world group playoffs, the highest level of the Davis Cup tournaments. The International Tennis Federation scheduled one of the tournament days for September 14, which falls on Yom Kippur.
The ITA, in recognition of the importance of Yom Kippur for all Jews, and even more so when representing Israel in the world, demanded that the date be changed.
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The Belgian Tennis Association turned down the request, but after the intervention of the International Tennis Federation, it was determined that the tournament would end on September 15 instead of September 14 and that the ITA would have to reimburse the Belgian association for the pecuniary damage caused by the need to add a day to the tournament.
ITA CEO Shlomo Glickstein said in response, "This has already happened in the past with a match in Switzerland which fell on Rosh Hashana, but other cases which also involved Yom Kippur were mainly with games which were held in Israel, so we will probably have to pay the Belgians."
The ITA website published a harsh letter on behalf of Chairman Asi Touchmair: "For a long time, the Belgian Tennis Association refused to recognize our basic need to refrain from playing tennis on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, and demanded the tournament be held on Yom Kippur. However, after the intervention of the International Tennis Federation, it was determined that the Yom Kippur game would be played on September 13, 2013.
"The Israel Tennis Association is a non-profit organization, which designates all of its funds to promote tennis in Israel and develop Israeli tennis players. As a result, the high fine is a detrimental blow for the budget of the professional program for the Israeli tennis teams and to Israeli tennis in general.
"As an institution that represents the State of Israel and its values, we in the Israeli Tennis Association stand proud, before all those who refuse to recognize the importance of the Jewish tradition, on behalf of Israel and Jews world over."