Non-Jewish recruit plays for Maccabi

A BUREAUCRATIC bungle has caused confusion at Maccabi NSW, after the organisation’s basketball club opted to play non-Jewish boom recruit Ben Knight (pictured) on Monday.

The club allowed the former Sydney Kings captain to take the court, despite insistences from Maccabi NSW vice-president Danny Hochberg that Knight would need to go through a process of confirmation in keeping with new Maccabi Australia (MAI) laws on the inclusion of non-Jewish players.

But Hochberg appears to have jumped the gun, with the oversight committee to determine the eligibility of non-Jewish players yet to be established by MAI and the states not expected to officially adopt the policy changes for some time.

To add to the confusion, the current Maccabi NSW constitution forbids the inclusion of non-Jewish players in Maccabi teams.

Maccabi NSW president Max Futeran said the situation was under review. “I will have a discussion with Michael America (Maccabi NSW Basketball Club president) and I will seek to get an understanding of his position,” Futeran told The AJN. “If there is any concern the matter will be discussed and resolved internally within Maccabi.”

MAI amended its constitution in November to permit non-Jewish players when a club is struggling for survival, when a sporting association’s rules or constitution does not allow for qualification of individual club member or when a club or team is operating at an elite level and needs some additional players to support its position in the league.

Maccabi Australia president Lisa Borowick declined to comment on the specific issue but outlined Maccabi Australia’s structure.

“Maccabi Australia has five members, the states, which voted to change the constitution,” Borowick said.

“The state’s members are the club and each club would need 75 per cent of its membership to agree to change its constitution if it choses to.

“Non-Jewish participation is subject to the oversight committee and the implementation of that policy will work hand in hand with the oversight committee,” she said.