The Zionist’s guide to the World Cup – Day 4

All politics are local, or so the adage goes.  At today’s World Cup, it was Latin America vs. Europe:  Costa Rica vs. Serbia, Mexico vs. Germany, and Brazil vs. Switzerland.  In this context, it would be an apparent no-brainer for the Zionist to root for the Latin American teams over their European foes.  After all, the Europeans have a thousand years of anti-Semitism to explain away.  Or not.

Rooting for a straight ticket of Latin America today was not so simple for me, personally.  During Mussaf on Shabbos, I was confronted with my negative appraisal of Costa Rica in our pre-World Cup analysis video.  Costa Rica, after all, voted for the partition of Palestine in 1947 and maintained its embassy in Jerusalem until 2006.  Further, one can probably find a minyan for mincha there, as well.   Plus, Costa Rica is a functioning democracy and does not have a standing army.  All good things, certainly.

On the other hand, as a loyal American soccer fan, I am painfully aware that these otherwise seemingly enlightened human beings have the nasty habit of throwing plastic bags of urine and other less desirable bio-hazard materials at US players when hosting matches on their native soil.   Former President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias was not overly pro-Israel and was responsible for moving the embassy from Jerusalem.

On the other hand, while most Serbian Jews perished in the Shoah, the Serbs led a vigorous resistance to Nazi occupation.  Many Jews were sheltered and saved by the partisans during the war, and Serbian-Israeli relations are decent.  As such, I found myself pulling for the Serbs during today’s match, all politics being local, you know.

If you still need guidance for who to root for in tomorrow’s line-up of Sweden vs. South Korea, Belgium vs. Panama, and Tunisia vs. England, please see the video preview:

About the Author
Doug Klein is an attorney in Chicago and the wrestling coach at Ida Crown Jewish Academy.
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