In this episode of Hebrew Voices, Holy City Soccer, Nehemia Gordon attends a “football match” between Hapoel Be'er Sheva and Beitar Jerusalem. Between the cheers of goals and shots on net, Gordon chats with Ari Louis, an Israeli sports blogger. Louis starts off explaining about the teams, their strategies, and soccer fans in Israel, but the conversation quickly turned spiritual.
Maybe only in Jerusalem could so much spiritual insight be mined from a soccer game. Gordon and Louis discuss: sports as an outlet for religious energy in a post-religion world—the need to congregate and believe in something bigger than ourselves; sports as a substitute for war; superstition versus true spiritual energy, and the connection between the 91st minute in soccer and the days in which we currently live.
In addition to writing about sports, Louis also hosts “The Messiah Hour”—an Israeli radio show that focuses on the fulfillment of prophecy from an orthodox perspective. After explaining how he envisions the world under the reign of the Messiah, with tongue in cheek Lewis adds, “I don’t know if even the Messiah can help Israel in sports.”
In closing, Gordon draws additional parallels between soccer strategies and the strategies of the Enemy and offers an Israeli soccer chant as a deep and powerful prayer to our Father in heaven.
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Ari Louis is Israel’s top English Language Broadcaster. Louis has a broadcasting career of 16 years which includes interviews with Pete Rose, Roy Jones Jr., Curt Schilling, Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi, Rabbi Lazer Brody and former PLO terrorist Walid Shoebat. He has been written about in the Jerusalem Post, Washington Post and Haaretz. Although Louis was in talks with Sirius Satelite and Fox Sports, he decided to stay local and open up Israel Sports and News Radio. ISNR is Israel’s only radio station which covers sports, religion, politics and news in great detail.
The soccer game featured in this week's episode was dedicated to 18-year old Ziv Mizrahi, an Israeli soldier murdered the week before the game (November 23, 2015) by Arab terrorists. Mizrahi was an avid Beitar Jerusalem fan. His uncle Alon Mizrahi was murdered by Arab terrorists in Jerusalem in the Cafe Hillel Bombing on September 9, 2003.
This episode of Hebrew Voices is dedicated to the late Football Hall-of-Famer Reggie White, who spent the last chapter of his life studying Hebrew.