Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

Extreme Israeli Paddleball Ignites a Battle

The Israeli beach “sport” is causing quite a racket

Print Email
(Wikimedia)

Israeli paddleball. When faced with the choice of entering the Mediterranean Sea during jellyfish season or sitting idly beachside while Israeli paddleballers in banana hammocks form a perfect storm of physical, aural, and visual nuisances, I know of some who would cast their lots with the jellyfish.

Matkot (paddleball) versus meduza (jellyfish). Both games with no winners. Those used to be the hazards of the Israeli beach. But now, matkot extremists have turned the annoying game into an Israeli bloodsport. And the people aren’t having it.

In recent years, the sport has mutated. That mutation—known as “Bat Yam style” for the Tel Aviv beach suburb where it was pioneered in the 1990s—turned the quaint seaside pastime into a fast-paced, hard-hitting game. Since then, the style has spread—and so too have calls to ban the sport.

“You can’t walk peacefully along the beach without getting slammed by the matkot balls,” says Tom Shinan, 35 years old, director of a 15-minute video assailing matkot released last summer. “It’s horrible.” He says he would “go to the beach and feel like I’m back in the army dodging bullets. That tic-tic-tic is everywhere.”

Shinan’s video, by the way, is a can’t-miss production. It starts with an old, kindly-seemingly matkot racketmaker who is struck dumb when asked if he realizes the horrible upshots of his vocation. Then, a voice offscreen begins:

You know how they say the Arabs want to throw us into the sea? Well, I say why not? But only the matkot players.

The furor may be warranted: Carbon paddles that are louder and achieve greater velocity, which means more bystanders are getting popped. There are tournaments. Public debates. Matkot even managed to cause one of the staunchest defenders of Israel to critique the Israeli sport. After being struck by a ball, Noah Pollak of the Emergency Coalition for Israel told WSJ:

It makes you think, is this the Zionism we defend?

In Israel, Sounds of Spring Include Thwack of Paddleballs [WSJ]

Print Email

You might call it Matkot, but I call it Pokpok.

fuscator says:

This piece is published 4 days before its rightful dateline!

linda518 says:

If you think Shirley`s story is cool,, 4 weaks-ago my sisters mother in-law also broght in $6808 grafting an eleven hour week in their apartment and they’re neighbor’s mother`s neighbour has done this for eight months and got paid more than $6808 in their spare time on there mac. use the advice on this page, jump15.comCHECK IT OUT

CygnusA81 says:

“Noah Pollak of the Emergency Coalition for Israel told WSJ:
It makes you think, is this the Zionism we defend?”

When I read the story yesterday and saw that quote, I figured that Mr. Pollak was talking in jest and not being serious. Its a shame that the WSJ took his joke seriously.

Michael says:

Try to protect beach Zionism with beautiful girls clad in bikinis, 6 AM to midnight. If matkot players take over Kikar Hamedina, apply Mishmar Hagvul troops. Leave Mea Shaarim unprotected.

Alan Weberman says:

this is a non story. How many more freedoms can be taken away from the Israeli secular community?

disqus_h7h9WokTiJ says:

Is there real paddleball in Israel, like 1 wall in a park?

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Extreme Israeli Paddleball Ignites a Battle

The Israeli beach “sport” is causing quite a racket

More on Tablet:

The Ding-Dong Derby

By Liel Leibovitz — The Shallowest, Least Thoughtful Commentators of the Week