Shalom Life | December 21, 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.”

Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (30-21) Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (30-21) TrendingAdam Levine's Maroon 5 Rock Out at The People Magazine Awards [VIDEO] Adam Levine's Maroon 5 Rock Out at The People Magazine Awards [VIDEO] TrendingTop 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (40-31) Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (40-31) Trending
 

Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (30-21)

December 19, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (30-21)

Join Shalom Life in celebrating the 50 most talented, intelligent, funny, and beautiful Jewish women of the year.

Read More

Analyst Suggests Qatar 'Give' World Cup 2022 to Gaza

December 19, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Analyst Suggests Qatar 'Give' World Cup 2022 to Gaza

Tom Gross argues that the move would be beneficial for Palestinians in Israel

Read More

Natalie Portman Explains How 'Star Wars' Almost Ruined Her Career

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Natalie Portman Explains How 'Star Wars' Almost Ruined Her Career

The 'Black Swan' actress says no one wanted to work with her after 'Star Wars'

Read More

Liberace's Hologram to Go On World Tour, Starting in Las Vegas

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Liberace's Hologram to Go On World Tour, Starting in Las Vegas

The deceased performer will be entertaining a whole new generation of fans.

Read More

Adam Levine's Maroon 5 Rock Out at The People Magazine Awards [VIDEO]

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Adam Levine's Maroon 5 Rock Out at The People Magazine Awards [VIDEO]

On Thursday evening, Maroon 5 wowed the audience with a live performance of 'Animals'

Read More

Oops! Drake Confused Adam Silver for Donald Sterling

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Oops! Drake Confused Adam Silver for Donald Sterling

At the Toronto Raptors Drake night, Drake mixed up some important names.

Read More

Ambassador Dan Shapiro Urges U.S. Collaboration with Jerusalem College of Technology

December 19, 2014 | By ShalomLife Team
Ambassador Dan Shapiro Urges U.S. Collaboration with Jerusalem College of Technology

Shapiro visited the college for a private demonstration of several ground-breaking technologies developed by students

Read More

This British Politician Is Trying to Put an End to Racism & anti-Semitism on Twitter

December 19, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
This British Politician Is Trying to Put an End to Racism & anti-Semitism on Twitter

Luciana Berger, the subject of some 2,500 anti-Semitic tweets earlier this year, wants the platform to ban racist words

Read More

More Headlines