The Zionist’s guide to the World Cup – Day 6

Russia versus Egypt?  Which is better for the Jews?  This was the question which should have been on the mind of every loyal Zionist as today’s match played out in St. Petersburg.

I thought long and hard about this and was forced to rely on the traditional ZGWC (Zionist’s Guide to the World Cup, naturally)  methodology for determining which country to cheer in any particular match-up:

  1. What is a country’s historical attitude toward the Jews?  Does the country have history of anti-Semitism?
  2. Does the country currently have good relations with the State of Israel?  What is their recent voting record in the United Nations?
  3. Is the country a democracy?  Does the country treat its citizens well?

I dutifully applied this methodology to the Russia-Egypt tie, and, frankly, it got me nowhere.

On question #1, both countries have toxic histories with regard to their treatment of the Jews.  From slavery in Goshen to pogroms in the Pale, it was a bit of a dead heat in that regard.

Likewise, on question #2, both countries have curious relations currently with the  State of Israel.  Netanyahu and Putin appear to understand each other very well, and the Russians have likely been instrumental in recent weeks in preventing the outbreak of a larger Israeli-Iranian conflict over Syria.  Similarly, Netanyahu and al-Sisi also seem to understand each other.  Both countries have common interests in Gaza, in the Sinai Peninsula, and in the regional confrontation against Iran and its clients.

As for question #3, neither are functional democracies at the current time.

Where does that leave us–other than confused and apathetic?

As I pondered this question through the course of the first half, I came to a conclusion based on the application of good sportsmanship–a solid Western, bourgeois value.  The Russians have been cheating at sports for a long time, and this 2018 FIFA World Cup is no exception.  First off, the entire reason Russia was chosen to host was the result of bribery and corruption.  Second, one need look no further than the favorable Group A in which Russia found itself in to know that the draw was fixed.  No tainted urine samples were needed; I ended up rooting for Egypt.  So sue me.

The worst news of the day was the Colombian disaster against Japan.  (Member of the Tribe) Jose Pekerman’s boys were forced to play a man down after Carlos Sanchez drew a straight red card in the third minute.  The Colombians will have their hands full attempting to make it to the knockout rounds.

Tomorrow’s matches hold some interest as Uruguay takes on Saudi Arabia and the Group of Death returns with Portugal playing Morocco and with Spain playing first place Iran.

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