The Last Word: A good start, but results are what really matter

Sport's Minister Livnat has yet to release her full plans, which we would hope will include improving the facilities for training youngsters.

jeremy last 88 (photo credit: )
jeremy last 88
(photo credit: )
She can definitely talk the talk. But we will have to wait and see if Israel's Sports Minister Limor Livnat can also walk the walk. The history of the government's dedication to sports has been sketchy at best. That the title was cobbled together with that of science or education minister in recent years illustrated just how little those in power were concerned about the country's sporting future. And the previous sports minster, Labor's Ghaleb Majadle, was one of the worst offenders, rarely showing any true care for sports and leaving his job, and the Knesset, earlier this year with few achievements to his name in the field of sports. In many countries around the globe the sports ministry is one of the more significant of the minor government departments. States in Western Europe realize how important it is to encourage sporting success at home and abroad, both as an inspiration for local residents to get out and keep fit and as a general positive public relations tool for the country. Millions of people, especially soccer fans, associate countries with their national sports teams, so international achievement has a strong impact on global perception. Turkey's rapid rise up the FIFA rankings, for example, creates an image of the country as a modern state. Three months ago, many political analysts hit out at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for creating the largest cabinet in Israel's history with a number of less-than important positions. However it is refreshing to see the Sports Ministry wrested from the Science Ministry, a move which will give Livnat more time to focus on encouraging our sporting success. In her interview with The Jerusalem Post this week, Livnat came across as an individual who genuinely wants to do more than pay lip service to the role in which she has found herself for the second time in her career. She is right to recognize the need to invest in Israel's youth and to praise Omri Casspi as an inspiration for our youngsters. Training schemes for promising athletes exist but are in dire need of investment. But this is only the start. Livnat has yet to release her full plans, which we would hope will include improving the facilities for training youngsters. The minister must turn her words into actions. Then, at last, we would have a sports minster we can be proud of.