Sport takes back-seat for now

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT -

SPORT IS THE last thing on the minds of the ma­jor­ity of Is­raelis right now, but it’s a way of liv­ing for so many too.

These were meant to be ex­cit­ing times for pro­fes­sional sports­men and women around the coun­try, but they have had the spot­light pulled from un­der their feet.

In re­cent weeks, we have seen Cham­pi­ons League and Europa League matches moved to the safer haven of Cyprus and only time will tell if Is­rael can host their Euro 2016 qual­i­fy­ing matches.

With a record num­ber of teams qual­i­fy­ing, los­ing home ad­van­tage for games against Bel­gium and Bos­nia Herze­gove­nia could be cru­cial.

So much work has gone on be­hind the scenes in other sports, but it ap­pears the ef­fort has been wasted. Is­rael has also lost bas­ket­ball matches to the con­flict, with a host of for­mer NBA stars, in­clud­ing ‘Magic’ John­son can­celling a trip to open the Jerusalem bas­ket­ball arena and play in an ex­hi­bi­tion match.

Another sport to be hit is ten­nis, with the can­cel­la­tion of the Negev tour­na­ment a real blow. And a de­ci­sion on whether or not Is­rael can host the forth­com­ing Davis Cup match against Ar­gentina will be made in the next few days.

The world of Mac­cabi foot­ball is mourn­ing the loss of a great friend fol­low­ing the pass­ing of Ivan Levack. Ivan trav­elled far and wide to watch his son, Alex, play for club and coun­try.

He was a per­ma­nent fix­ture on the side­lines for Faith­fold, more of­ten than not find­ing a quiet spot to watch on his own.

He was there come rain or shine, and saw his cap­tain marvel col­lect ev­ery do­mes­tic prize, in­clud­ing the Mor­ri­son, the In­ter-League Tro­phy and Player of the Year.

One of my first meet­ings with Ivan came at the Euro­pean Mac­cabi Games in Stir­ling. He was beam­ing from ear to ear af­ter Alex helped his coun­try win gold.

In an age when loy­alty in both the am­a­teur and pro­fes­sional game is some­thing of a rar­ity, the trib­utes have been flood­ing in for a real men­sch and a won­der­ful sup­porter.

Nick Black­man could be one to watch this sea­son. I’m ex­pect­ing big things from the for­mer King David School pupil. He’s look­ing to fire Read­ing back into the Pre­mier League and if his strike in the friendly against Swansea is any­thing to go by then an ex­cit­ing few months lie ahead.

Best wishes go to Ryan Monk of Boca Jewniors who suf­fered a bro­ken arm mak­ing a save in a pre-sea­son friendly against Hendon United. Email dan­ny­ and/or fol­low Danny on Twit­ter:@dcaro

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