Israel's High Court of Justice ordered the Interior Ministry Monday to approve the construction of a soccer stadium in Jerusalem, a venture long opposed by Orthodox Jews who object to games on the Sabbath.

The ruling was a victory for Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek, who has supported the building of the 12,000-seat municipal stadium since it was first proposed in 1973."I share in the joy of Jerusalem citizens and sports fans. They deserve to have a major soccer stadium," Kollek said in a statement.

Construction of the stadium was delayed by objections from the Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem and by several site changes. The Orthodox Jews opposed the stadium because games would be held on Saturday and violate strict observance of the Jewish Sabbath, which begins at sundown Friday.

Despite the opposition to a new stadium, there is no ban on Sabbath soccer games. Most Saturdays, thousands of fans pack the small YMCA stadium near the King David Hotel in central Jerusalem to see national teams compete.