JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli equestrian rider has withdrawn from next month’s world championships because the competition will take place on Yom Kippur.
The International Equestrian Federation event, which will take place this year in North Carolina, is a prelude to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, where Israel’s equestrian federation hopes to compete for the first time.
Israeli rider Dan Kramer sent a letter earlier this month to the international federation saying that he would not compete due to the conflict with the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Ynet reported last week.
“I decided not to join the other members of the Israeli national team and not to participate in the upcoming world championships in the United States, because the competition is taking place on Yom Kippur and I want to honor this day as well as the Israeli public and Jewish Diaspora,” Kramer wrote in a letter to the Israel equestrian federation’s chairman Kenny Lalo, Ynet reported.
Kramer, who is living in Belgium, grew up on Moshav Hayogev in northern Israel, where his family owned a horse and he dreamed of competing in the Olympics. He suffered a leg injury while serving in the Israel Defense Forces, and returned to riding as part of a physical therapy regimen. He qualified for next month’s world championship last year.
Other members of the team were divided over the decision by Kramer, whose absence could cost the Israeli team an Olympic berth.