Next week, the Israeli contingency of the ITKF, International Traditional Karate Federation, will be fighting for the European championships, to be held on Oct. 20, 2009.
The national ITKF chairman, Iyal Nir, a fifth degree black belt master, and national team captain Moshe Rokach have been very close friends with Rabbi Fishel Jacobs for many decades.
Kfar Chabad-based Jacobs attends many of their activities and supports them very strongly.
Following are some questions the Israeli representatives spoke about in the Israeli media recently.
Mr. Nir: There’s a particular importance for our appearing in this year’s European championships, which will be held in Italy. Specifically, because we intend to rally the international ITKF board behind hosting the European championships for 2011 in Jerusalem.
A good showing in Italy will make our appeal even stronger.
Rabbi Jacobs: I think it’s important to note that the Israel branch of ITKF is represented by, though I wouldn’t say religious teachers, per se, they are all observant to one degree or another. They are proud Jews, and part of the reason they want the 2011 European Championships to be held in Jerusalem is simply to strengthen Israel’s image in the worldwide media, as well as amongst the contestants.
Mr. Rokach: We’ve had extensive meetings with the Jerusalem municipality. They’re extremely cooperative. In fact, we’ve worked out many of the logistical details: housing for the hundreds of competitors, location for the fast paced fighting matches, touring in the holy land.
Mr. Nir: If we win the chance to have the 2011 championships in Israel, our message to the world will be — Fighting for Peace In Jerusalem. Israel has enough media problems. We feel good PR will only strengthen our position in the world, and we’ve received strong encouragement from the mayor of Jerusalem as well.
Rabbi Jacobs: I hope our team wins in Italy. I believe the fighters are well trained, and I give the team, Iyal and Moshe my blessings to go in peace, return in peace, and in the interim knock their heads off. (laugh).