Where have you gone, Sandy Koufax

jerusalem (jps) | For the first time in Israel’s history, clubs played soccer on the Jewish New Year.

On Wednesday, Sept. 15, Maccabi Tel Aviv hosted Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, while on Thursday Maccabi Haifa hosted Ukrainian club Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, and Bnei Sakhnin visited England to face Newcastle in the UEFA Cup.

Why are teams playing on the High Holy Days this year?

Ask Tel Aviv owner Loni Herzikovic and he’ll tell you that his team had no choice. UEFA (United European Football Association), European soccer’s governing body, simply wouldn’t allow it. And he’ll explain that he just couldn’t take on UEFA.

“We’d get steamrolled,” he told the Hebrew daily Ma’ariv two weeks ago, adding that boycotting the game would end Maccabi’s European campaign and would result in the team being banned from European competition for five years.