Misplaced priorities or missed opportunity?
Sir – I would much rather see our tax shekels for sport spent on promoting and
supporting amateur sport programs so all Israelis can become more physically fit
(“Kadima MKs blame government for Israel’s lack of success at Olympics,” August
How much better this would be for the health of our country, than to
have us all sitting around watching the few try to garner gold for but a moment
in the Olympic sun.
Sir, – The minister and those
investigating would do well to take into account the relative low numbers of our
population: 1. Who engage in active competitive sport resulting in a very
limited source of suitable candidates to compete in all sports
2. Who engage in sport at all thus seriously limiting
the pool from which to select.
3. Engaged in sport who achieve the
supreme physical fitness demanded from our athletes be they football players,
swimmers, basketball players, etc. when compared with world
4. Serving in our armed forces who maintain a high level of
5. Who know and behave in sportsmanlike fashion on the
field and off, be they participants, trainers, managers, or spectators, so that
one day we will become a great sporting nation!
Let’s stop sending our athletes to the Olympic Games.
Not because we
didn’t win any medals. Even if we had won 10 medals I would still make this
suggestion. While I appreciate the grueling preparations made by our sports men
and women, the hundreds of millions of shekels spent on them have been largely
wasted and could have gone to far better use. Israel has a lower standard of
physical education than most of the countries in the world.
This is a
very serious national shortcoming because – for obvious reasons – no other
nation needs a higher level of physical conditioning among its younger
generation than Israel. Furthermore, general physical fitness is important for
overall health and also as an aspect of personality development.
our schools are literally a hundred years behind the rest of the developed world
in sporting facilities. Proper sports fields, fully equipped gymnasiums,
swimming pools are almost unheard of in this country.
of thousands of young people who have nothing else to do other than vegetate in
front of a digital screen or aimlessly roam the streets, would have so much more
content in their lives if the enormous funds directed to the usually futile
dispatch of sporting delegations to the Olympics were used to build sporting
facilities at schools and open clubs and provide coaches at reasonable prices or
free of charge.
Give proper opportunities to our youngsters, and we’ll be
able to see more Israeli medalists at Olympic podiums in 10 or 15 years. We have
the raw talent. It simply needs to be nurtured.
Sir, – These opposition MKs who blame the government for Israel’s lack of
success at the recent Olympics are correct, but only partially so. The fault
goes back a lot further than just this present government.
of support for sports, in schools and after, goes back many, many years. It is
now time to begin to give the same sort of support to children learning to be
athletes as happens in most other modern governments. But it must begin at once!
Sir, – In a rant very similar in style to those made by
Tzipi Livni, another Kadima MK desperately seeks relevance – this one by blaming
the current government for our lack of medals in the Olympic games. She suggests
investing in athletes from a young age like the Soviet Union does.
as she points out, the Olympic games are not our priority.
And with that,
we still send our athletes to the competition and watch with pride as they
While we proudly watch our athletes compete, and long for our
anthem to be played and our flag to fly during the presentation, we have other
issues that push medals off center stage; like survival, like honing our
reputation for excellence in scientific studies, like combating the ubiquitous
Israel bashing throughout the world.
True, medal winners can be excellent
ambassadors but the Olympics are games, entertainment, lessons in good
sportsmanship, means whereby a host country can promote their tourism. They are
not significant in world affairs.
What’s all this griping about the country not putting enough money into the
training of our sportsmen and athletes (“Where do we go from here?” Allon
Sinai’s London Diary, Sports, August 8)? Is it vital to Israel that our
competitors must come away from the Olympics with medals? What happened to,
“It’s the taking part which counts” or “May the best man win”? Should everyone
that takes up an occupation be state financed in order that they can do better
for themselves? Or is it only when they take up an occupation where the rest of
the world will see how good they are? Surely, those who manage to do better for
themselves will automatically do better for the country even if it’s only the
higher taxes they will have to pay.
Will Israel receive kudos from other
countries if our competitors win Olympic medals? I can see the Iranians leaping
out of their seats praising Israel for lifting a heavier weight than any of the
other countries contestants. It’s only sport, sport!
Sir, – So we didn’t win any medals at the Olympics. So what? The count as of the
writing of this letter was 74 of 204 countries won medals. Israel was therefore
in good company. Why is not more praise given to the really great achievements
of our small team? Finishing 6th in two events is praiseworthy, as are the
defeat of the world’s top tennis player and his partner by our doubles
In addition, a 7th place in a swimming event and qualification for
the semi-finals in another which included two great American swimmers are
noteworthy achievements, as was qualifying for the final in overall
All these achievements are from young people who spend 2 to 3
years of the most athletically possible years of their lives serving their
country in the armed forces.
There is no doubt that considerably more
funding of sport coaching and training may result in better performances, but is
the cost worthwhile?
MONTY M. ZION
Sir, – Now that the Israeli Olympic
team will not have won a medal at the London Olympics, I cannot be so brazen as
to agree with a reader that there is a connection between that fact and the fact
that the athletes participated in an opening ceremony held on a day which was
both Shabbat and Tisha B’Av (with the mourning postponed to Sunday).
I would say is that there would have been no greater kiddush Hashem and tribute
to the memory of the Munich 11 than if the Israel Olympic Committee had refused
to participate in the opening ceremony and even forfeited participation in
competition on that holy day, not out of protest, but because of our laws and
A minute of silence is a not a Jewish custom. Our custom is to
study mishnayot on the anniversary date of one who has passed on. With the
completion of the Daf Yomi Talmud cycle falling during the Olympic games, a
Siyum Hashas could have been held in London to honor the memory of the Munich