Compromise Enables Israeli Basketball Player to Compete in European Women's Championship
Posted: June 20, 2011
An Orthodox Jewish basketball player who wears a t-shirt under her jersey to abide by Jewish rules of modesty was permitted to play in the European women's championship after a compromise was reached between her team and the Munich-based organization that governs basketball in Europe.
Israeli national team player Naama Shafir, 21, participated in the European women's championship wearing skin-toned elastic sleeves, as the Israeli team competed against women's teams from the Czech Republic and Belarus.
The compromise came after the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) for Europe initially ruled that Shafir would be unable to play in the EuroBasketball tournament, citing regulations that all players must wear the same uniform. FIBA said the t-shirt would violate its uniform policy and it would not make an exception.
The Anti-Defamation League had urged FIBA to reconsider its decision, saying the policy was "insensitive and discriminatory.
The League said it was pleased with the outcome.
"This was a reasonable solution that enabled Naama Shafir to play in the competition while not compromising her religious beliefs," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "We are gratified that FIBA and the Israeli team were able to work out a solution that was a win-win for everyone involved."
Shafir, a guard, does not play or pratice on the Jewish Sabbath, and is provided with kosher food when traveling with the team.
The Israeli women's team lost, 68-41, to Belarus on June 19 after being defeated by the Czech Republic's team the previous day.