Shalom Life | August 27, 2014

Israeli National Football Team Makes its Debut

Despite lopsided score, Israel’s first international American football game considered successful

By: Sammy Hudes

Published: May 18th, 2012 in Culture » Society » News

Israeli National Football Team Makes its Debut

Ask any Israeli, and they will tell you that football is nothing new in Israel. By far the most popular sport in the country, the Israel Football Association is over 80 years old and currently runs five levels and 15 different divisions of the Israeli football league system. The national team has even competed in the Olympics twice, in 1968 and 1976.

Of course, this type of football is more commonly known in North America as soccer.

But on Thursday, the Israeli American football team made its international debut in Petah Tikvah against the Maranatha Baptist Bible College Crusaders, an NCAA Division III team from Watertown, Wis.

Israel lost 49-6 in front of a crowd approximately 500 people, according to the Associated Press.

Spectators said they were excited to see the team play, albeit on a field marked over a baseball diamond.

“I wouldn't have heard of the sport were it not for my son,” said Smadar Yeshurun, whose son Shahar plays linebacker.

Five years ago, the Israel Football League, a local 10-team amateur league was launched and continues to generate excitement.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft reportedly donates $70,000 each year to help support the league. A field in Jerusalem, where many games take place, is named after Kraft.

The league’s commissioner Uriel Sturm, who is originally from Toronto, said that 1,000 fans attended last year’s Israel Bowl, which was broadcast live on an Israeli sports channel.

“The tailgating, the cheerleading, that whole rah-rah atmosphere is very much a part of football culture,” said Sturm. “We're hopefully building towards that.”

Teams in the local league typically field eight players at a time on a 60-yard field, but in Thursday’s international game, the teams played 11 versus 11 on a 100-yard field.

Translations of the words, “down,” “yard” and “touchdown” do not yet exist in Hebrew, but Maranatha captain Robert O’Brien said that he could see American football fitting in Israel.

“These people are all about contact, they are all about aggressiveness,” said O’Brien. “Football fits right into their culture.”

Sarah Silverman Wins Emmy, Thanks “My Jews” Sarah Silverman Wins Emmy, Thanks “My Jews” TrendingHoward Stern Takes On The ALS Ice (Cube) Challenge [VIDEO] Howard Stern Takes On The ALS Ice (Cube) Challenge [VIDEO] TrendingMayim Bialik’s Plan For The Emmy’s: Strike a Balance Between “Hot and Holy” Mayim Bialik’s Plan For The Emmy’s: Strike a Balance Between “Hot and Holy” Trending
 

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones Hope to Co-Star in a Film

August 26, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones Hope to Co-Star in a Film

The married couple is looking for the right project to work on together

Read More

Sarah Silverman Wins Emmy, Thanks “My Jews”

August 26, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Sarah Silverman Wins Emmy, Thanks “My Jews”

The comedian won on Monday night for Best Writing for a Variety Show

Read More

Scarlett Johansson Designs T-Shirt For Planned Parenthood

August 26, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Scarlett Johansson Designs T-Shirt For Planned Parenthood

The initiative 'Women Are Watching' seeks to educate and mobilize young voters about women's health issues and rights.

Read More

Howard Stern Takes On The ALS Ice (Cube) Challenge [VIDEO]

August 26, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Howard Stern Takes On The ALS Ice (Cube) Challenge [VIDEO]

The 'America's Got Talent' judge completed the popular challenge kinda.

Read More

The Love Jewce: An Interview With Shoes by Jews

August 26, 2014 | By Andria Kaplan
The Love Jewce: An Interview With Shoes by Jews

We speak to Shawn Michael (no, not the wrestler) about their product that "discreetly provides an extra 2-3 inches of height" to shorter men

Read More

Parents of Missing American Yeshiva Student Offer $28,000 Reward

August 26, 2014 | By ShalomLife Team
Parents of Missing American Yeshiva Student Offer $28,000 Reward

Aaron Sofer has been missing since Friday when he went hiking in Jerusalem

Read More

Watchdog Calls Out BBC For Hamas 'Propaganda'

August 26, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Watchdog Calls Out BBC For Hamas 'Propaganda'

BBC Watch accuses the newspaper of "absolving Hamas of truce violation," and refusing to name the 4-year-old Israeli who was killed by Hamas mortar fire

Read More

BDS Victory Over SodaStream Equals 900 Palestinians Out of Work

August 26, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
BDS Victory Over SodaStream Equals 900 Palestinians Out of Work

SodaStream is moving its Ma'ale Adumim factory to the Negev

Read More

More Headlines