Shalom Life | July 30, 2015

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.”

WATCH: Viral Video of Israeli Father Shaving his Beard for First Time in 14 Years WATCH: Viral Video of Israeli Father Shaving his Beard for First Time in 14 Years TrendingWATCH: Trailer for New Seth Rogen Christmas Movie WATCH: Trailer for New Seth Rogen Christmas Movie TrendingWATCH: Israeli Drag Queen's Flight Safety Video for Trans Airline WATCH: Israeli Drag Queen's Flight Safety Video for Trans Airline Trending
 

WATCH: Jon Stewart Addresses Uproar over his "Secret" Meeting with President Obama

July 30, 2015 | By Daina Goldfinger
WATCH: Jon Stewart Addresses Uproar over his "Secret" Meeting with President Obama

"Something is not a secret just because you don't know about it"

Read More

Canadian Couple: Killing Young Jews Will Save Them from Hell

July 30, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
Canadian Couple: Killing Young Jews Will Save Them from Hell

The couple, convicted of trying to bomb the British Columbia Legislature, hoped to save Jews from growing up and going to "eternal hell"

Read More

WATCH: Viral Video of Israeli Father Shaving his Beard for First Time in 14 Years

July 30, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
WATCH: Viral Video of Israeli Father Shaving his Beard for First Time in 14 Years

People are going crazy for this family's reaction to a man named Mooki shaving his beard

Read More

EXCLUSIVE: JSwipe Founder Opens Up About JDate Lawsuit

July 30, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein & Daniel Koren
EXCLUSIVE: JSwipe Founder Opens Up About JDate Lawsuit

"We believe their claims lack merit and we intend to defend our rights vigorously," says David Yarus

Read More

University of Toronto Students Fight Back Against BDS

July 30, 2015 | By Adir Krafman
University of Toronto Students Fight Back Against BDS

U of T Students' Union Board of Directors overwhelmingly rejects creation of BDS committee

Read More

Shaw Festival Review: The Twelve-Pound Look

July 29, 2015 | By Hermine Steinberg
Shaw Festival Review: The Twelve-Pound Look

J.M Barrie's 'The Twelve-Pound Look' is a witty and poignant portrayal of marriage during the Edwardian Era.

Read More

Israeli Archaeologists Discover Remnants of Great Historical Synagogue

July 29, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
Israeli Archaeologists Discover Remnants of Great Historical Synagogue

Using new technology, Israeli archaeologists have unearthed what may be the Great Synagogue of Vilna

Read More

WATCH: Trailer for New Seth Rogen Christmas Movie

July 29, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
WATCH: Trailer for New Seth Rogen Christmas Movie

'The Night Before' "was made by Jews and opens on Thanksgiving"

Read More

More Headlines