As Jewish Maccabia athletes from around the world — from New York to Mumbai, and from Palau to Sydney (the long way around) — have come to Israel to compete, I have heard that some Jerusalemites have gotten into the festivities as well.
Word is that around Jerusalem, many haredim are competing in the “burning garbage bins” games and the “stone throwing” contests at some municipal buildings. The Mayor of Jerusalem closed several offices in Mea Shearim to protect city workers from the effects of these “sporting activities,” or what some might term violence.
What is the source of this? Is it due to the Jerusalem scene from the film, Bruno? Nope.
It seems that police hospitalized an ill 3 year old, and charged the child’s mother with starving her son and alleging that she suffers Munchausen’s-by-proxy. Authorities allege that she abused the 7 kilogram, 3 year old to garner attention for herself, which is the result of the alleged mental disease. The rioters have taken issue with how the doctors and police handled the matter. They are offended that the police want the mother psychologically evaluated; they also say that the child has cancer and is not being starved. Hadassah physicians disagree. The horror of the abuse is no laughing matter, nor is the current rioting. It makes one wonder why anyone would want to be Mayor of Jerusalem, or even a bus driver there (allusion to Danny Siegel poem).
On a lighter note, can someone explain to me, why, at the 18th Maccabiah Games, the Israeli President, Prime Minister, and other leaders spoke, welcomed the athletes, and asked them to support and to move to Israel, but when Israel played Mexico in softball, yesterday, police stormed the field, and closed down the softball games because the Israel Softball Association did not officially file the proper license to hold the tournie in Petah Tikva. Does the mayor of that town hate the mayors of the other hosting cities? Does Petah Tikva hate Mexico and softball? It just seems weird that for the past decade, games have played there, but they decided to get strict with the rules on the first day of the Maccabiah. Or am I being naÃ¯ve as to how Israel’s municipalities function?