David Blatt, the first Israeli to be appointed head coach of an NBA team (the Cleveland Cavaliers), after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to an upset victory in the last European club basketball championship, feels ill at ease about not being in Israel during Operation Protective Edge. "It's true I don't feel comfortable not being in Israel at a time like this," he said in a telephone conversation with "Globes" from his new home in Cleveland. Blatt, who grew up in the US, immigrated to Israel as a basketball player when he was 22.
"Globes": Now, of all times, when Israel is in a war, you are not in Israel.
Blatt: "That's exactly what's making me uncomfortable. 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. My two older daughters happen to be on their global post-army service tour, my son is overseas playing in in the European Youth Basketball Championship, and my youngest daughter is also out of the country for a few days. They're all returning to Israel, though, and I'm planning on seeing them again at the beginning of August. I had a plane ticket with Delta Airlines, but I changed to El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) as soon as Delta canceled its flights to Israel."
Do you support the operation?
"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."
Do you feel support for Israel in the US?
"There's support, although sometimes it's not enough. In my opinion, though, there's more support this time than before."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 31, 2014
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