Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev announced that she would not attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as she did not want to violate the Sabbath.
“Miri Regev has a problem with violating the Sabbath as a representative of the State of Israel,” said her spokeswoman. “She herself does not keep Sabbath, but when she represents all of Israel’s citizens, she does not want to offend religious citizens by violating the Sabbath.”
The ceremony was scheduled to end on Friday night, and the distance back to Regev’s hotel—an hour-long drive—rendered walking back impossible. “We appealed to the Israel Olympic Committee in an effort to find a hotel closer to the ceremony that would allow Minister Regev to attend without violating the Sabbath, but our efforts were unsuccessful due to security reasons,” continued her spokeswoman.
Regev said in a statement that “Shabbat, our national day of rest, is one of the most important gifts that the Jewish people have given to the culture of humanity. As the representative of the State of Israel, the only Jewish state on the planet, I unfortunately cannot take part in the opening ceremony of the Olympics because it would require me to break the holy Sabbath.”
The spokesperson for the Israel Olympic Committee refused to comment after being contacted by TPS.