Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jews in the News: Jews in the World Cup

Prior to the World Cup, we had some trouble finding a Jew. We already profiled Jonathan Bornstein and Benny Feilhaber, and Jonathan Spector's Jewishness was suspect (he turns out to be 1/4th)... besides, we wanted to profile a non-American. Thankfully, confirmation of Walter Samuel's Jewishness was printed in Haaretz, so we went with him.

But we almost went with... wait for it... Algeria's goalkeeper, Rais M'Bolhi. An Israeli website reprinted a rumor from a French publication that M'Bolhi's mother was a Jewish Algerian. There is no confirmation, and M'Bolhi is Mulsim (as is his Congolese father), so we'd probably go with "Not a Jew"... Except we didn't want to profile a third-string Algerian goalkeeper who never even played for his national team until a month ago.

Well, the Algerian starter messed up in the opening game, and M'Bolhi was called upon. He shut out England, and almost did so to the US, only to be denied by an amazing last minute goal from Landon Donovan (both Bornstein, who started the match, and Feilhaber, who came off the bench in the second half, played in the game).

Sorry, M'Bolhi. You came close again, but no cigar. Still, Not a Jew.

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