David Blatt, the new coach of the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers, is a supporter of the Israeli military action in Gaza.
A Princeton graduate where he played college ball and who moved to Israel at age 22, Blatt coached overseas for 20 years including guiding Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel to the Euroleague championship in May. He also coached the Russian national team to a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics.
Blatt reportedly had his first in-person meeting with LeBron James on Tuesday. With opt-clauses in his next two contract terms, James appears to be calling all the shots as far as player personnel moves, such as the anticipated trade of first round draft choice Andrew Wiggins for established Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love. With James, Love, and Kyrie Irving in the fold, Blatt appears to be coaching a powerhouse NBA title contender in his first year in the league.
Blatt has four kids, at least two of whom have served in the Israeli Defense Forces. In Israel, military service is mandatory for virtually all high school graduates, men and women, followed by a long-term commitment to the reserves.
When asked by the Israeli business publication Globes whether he supports the military action in Gaza which is called Operation Protection Edge, Blatt offered this opinion:
Absolutely. In my opinion, this war is Israel’s most justified war I can remember in recent years. I’m really sorry about what’s happening in Gaza, but there’s no doubt that we had to act there, so that Israel will have quiet there once and for all, and we can live in peace.”
Blatt added that he feels uncomfortable being away from Israel when the country is on a war footing. “I’ve always been in Israel at the hardest times. Since Operation Protective Edge began, I feel being in Israel is the most natural thing for me to do. My work is here, though, and I have to get ready for the coming season. It’s not easy for me when I’m constantly thinking about what’s happening in Israel.”
Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour truce (which Israel apparently is prepared to extend), and Israeli ground forces have left Gaza. According to the New York Post, “Nearly 1,900 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, with Gaza officials saying three-quarters of the dead were civilians. Israel says some 900 Hamas militants were among the dead. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and three civilians inside Israel have also been killed.”
That Hamas, which is designated as terrorist organization by the U. S. State Department, utilizes innocent Palestinians as human shields prompted Prime Minister Netanyahu to declare yesterday that Hamas uses civilian casualties “as PR fodder” and that “The people of Gaza are not our enemy. Our enemy is Hamas.”
Israel has insisted the operation is necessary because of unceasing Hamas rocket attacks on the Jewish state as well as the construction of a network of terror tunnels for Hamas violence against Israeli civilians.
Wonder Woman actress and Miss Israel 2004 Gal Gadot, who served two years in the IDF, recently took to social media to express her support for the IDF.
Miss Israel 2013 Yityish Aynaw, who is of Ethiopian heritage, was called up for reserved duty as evidence by this tweet:
Do you agree or disagree with Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt that the Israeli military action is justified?
[image credit: Christopher Johnson]