Monday, August 23, 2010

The yarmulka goal

Last week, Yerushalimey sent me a link to this video showing an Israeli from Hapoel Tel Aviv scoring a goal against Red Bull Salzburg in Austria and then putting on a kipah in celebration:

From JTA:
The stunt earned [Itai] Shechter a yellow card and apparently garnered attention in Israel, where the gesture was widely interpreted as a triumphant gesture against the Nazi history of Austria’s past. Ynet reported that the kipah was given to Shechter by a cancer patient and a longtime Hapoel T.A. fan.

In an interview with One sport, declaring that he “would have put the kipah on even if they had put me in prison,” Shechter said the following (my translation from the Hebrew):

"I wasn’t trying to anger anyone. A young tzaddik gave [the kipah] to me in the airport. I told my friend that I’d put it in my sock and if, G-d willing, I score, I’ll wear it; I didn’t think this was a provocation. I wanted to say Shema' Yisrael. What was going on in my mind was that, 'I know that there are may Jews that are watching me from their home and are happy.'
The player received a yellow card for unsportsmanlike behavior, and I cannot understand why this is more offensive than any of the elaborate goal celebrations I have seen.