Shimon Peres Will Skip Olympics Over Shabbat

London Opening Ceremony Expected To Stretch Into Sabbath

By JTA

Published July 10, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli President Shimon Peres canceled his participation in the 2012 Olympic Games in London after failing to find a way to attend the opening ceremony without desecrating the Jewish Sabbath.

The opening ceremony begins on a Friday, July 27, before Shabbat starts, but will end well after the onset of the holy day. Though Peres is not religiously observant, he does not publicly desecrate Shabbat.

The President’s Office reportedly has been working for months on the Olympics visit and plans for the opening ceremony. Since there is no hotel within walking distance of the stadium, Peres’ staff made an official request that he be allowed to sleep Friday night in the Olympic Village, which is near the main stadium.

His request was denied, since only Olympic athletes are allowed to stay in the village.

Other alternatives were discarded due to security reasons, according to reports.

The President’s Office issued a statement Tuesday saying that “Due to the fact that the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games is on Friday evening and there are no hotels in walking distance of the stadium, the president decided to cancel his visit and not desecrate the Sabbath. The president wishes good luck to the Israeli athletes.”

Peres on Monday hosted Israel’s Olympic and Paralympic teams for an official sendoff.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.