Shalom Life | April 21, 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.”

Netanyahu, Amy Schumer, Sarah Koenig and Others Make TIME's 100 Most Influential People Netanyahu, Amy Schumer, Sarah Koenig and Others Make TIME's 100 Most Influential People TrendingKim Kardashian and Kanye West’s Trip to Israel Cost Them $1 Million Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s Trip to Israel Cost Them $1 Million TrendingGwyneth Paltrow Eating on $28 a Week Gwyneth Paltrow Eating on $28 a Week Trending
 

Male Supporters of Women of the Wall Help Smuggle Torah Scroll Into the Kotel

April 20, 2015 | By Ynet News
Male Supporters of Women of the Wall Help Smuggle Torah Scroll Into the Kotel

A major victory for the organization, the Women of the Wall read, for the first time, from a full-sized Torah at the Western Wall

Read More

Netanyahu, Amy Schumer, Sarah Koenig and Others Make TIME's 100 Most Influential People

April 17, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Netanyahu, Amy Schumer, Sarah Koenig and Others Make TIME's 100 Most Influential People

Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Diane von Furstenberg, Kevin Hart, Lorne Michaels, and many more make the 12th annual list

Read More

Israeli Defense Firm Creates System to Detect Terror Tunnels

April 17, 2015 | By JNS.org
Israeli Defense Firm Creates System to Detect Terror Tunnels

Elbit Systems developed the new tunnel-detection system together with the Israeli Defense Ministry and other partners in Israel

Read More

Rabbis, Mental Health Professionals Holding Conference to Support Young LGBT Jews

April 17, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Rabbis, Mental Health Professionals Holding Conference to Support Young LGBT Jews

Conference to be held in Israel this Sunday will bring Orthodox rabbinical community, and the therapeutic community, together in support of LGBT teens

Read More

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s Trip to Israel Cost Them $1 Million

April 17, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s Trip to Israel Cost Them $1 Million

Mind you, they were only there for a couple days

Read More

Hamas to Gazans: Kidnap More Israelis

April 17, 2015 | By JNS.org
Hamas to Gazans: Kidnap More Israelis

"Our men, our women, our children [should] always think of kidnapping your soldiers and settlers, wherever they may be"

Read More

You Could Be The Next Goldstar Beer Taste Tester. Seriously.

April 17, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
You Could Be The Next Goldstar Beer Taste Tester. Seriously.

The company is need of a new chief beer tester, and is turning to the Israeli public for help

Read More

The Kosher Switch May Not Be So Kosher After All

April 17, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
The Kosher Switch May Not Be So Kosher After All

Marketed as a way to keep kosher during the Shabbat, many rabbinical sources fear the Kosher Switch may rely on a Jewish loophole to keep "kosher"

Read More

More Headlines