Olympics: Peres cancels Olympics visit to avoid Shabbat desecration

Israeli President Shimon Peres canceled his participation in the 2012 Olympic Games in London after failing to find a way to attend the opening ceremony without desecrating Shabbat.

The opening ceremony begins on Friday, July 27, before Shabbat starts, but will end well after the onset of the holy day. Though Peres is not religiously observant, he does not publicly desecrate Shabbat.

 Because there is no hotel within walking distance of the stadium, Peres’ staff made an official request that he be allowed to sleep Friday night in the Olympic Village, which is near the main stadium.His request was denied, since only Olympic athletes are allowed to stay in the village. Other alternatives were rejected due to security reasons, according to reports.

The president’s office issued a statement saying that “the president wishes good luck to the Israeli athletes.” — jta