70 Years of Sports in Israeli Culture

By Jesse Nagelberg - 25 April 2018

Shalom Friends,

It is hard to believe that we are less than 75 days from camp! We are having fun with the countdown on our Facebook page, with a “Jersey” theme that will show off some of the all-time greats. Be sure to Like our page to be a part of the fun.

Last week we celebrated the 70th year of Israel’s Independence. The celebration began last week and will continue throughout our summer at the Ramah Sports Academy. There are many ways to celebrate Israel. We connect with the people, the historic sights, the Hebrew language, food and so much more.

Of particular interest for us at the Ramah Sports Academy is the opportunity to reflect on the role of sports in the history of Israel.

The sports clubs that make up the sports teams in Israel, like HaPoel, Macabbi, and Beitar, were founded before the establishment of the State of Israel back in the 1920’s.

We take huge pride in Israeli sport victories on world stage.

These include:

  • Maccabi Tel Aviv winning the European Championship with Tal Brody in 1977.
  • Gal Fridman winning Israel’s first Gold Medal in 2004 in Men’s Sailboard (windsurfing)
  • Israel winning in the first round of the World Baseball Classic this year with the Mensch on the Bench

We have felt the pain of the violent murder of Israel Olympians at the Munich Olympics of 1972.

We still occasionally see Israel excluded as when Tal Flicker won the Judo Gold Medal in Abu Dhabi and the UAE officials barred Israel’s flag from being raised and her national anthem from being played.

Today our connection to Israeli sports continues, as we celebrate famous Israeli athletes like Omri Caspi who played for the Golden State Warriors this year, and cheer on tennis star Dudi Sela.

This summer we will connect our campers to Israel, through study, celebration, and the building of personal relationships. We are excited to introduce campers to professional Israeli basketball player Yariv Amiram, and to our shlichim (emissaries) Hadar, Shir, and Or. We will challenge our campers to develop their own connection to Israel, through tradition, food, people and of course sports. All of this will help make Israel at 70 a birthday to remember. Yom Ha’azmaut Sameach (Happy Israeli Independence Day)!

Check out some fun facts about 70 years of sports in Israeli culture below.


Dave Levy

Celebrating 70 Years of Sports in Israeli Culture

Every four years, Israel hosts the Maccabiah Games where thousands of Jewish athletes from all around the world come together to compete, have fun, and build strong relationships. However, sports is not the only focus at the Maccabiah Games, as athletes also tour and experience other parts of Israel.

As the years grow since the establishment of the State of Israel, sports have played an increasing role for Israel, especially on the international stage. Maccabi Tel Aviv and Israel’s international soccer team continue to compete at high levels each year. Israel continues to appear in the Olympics and other competitions.

The Orde Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sports is one of the most important factors in the successful development of Israeli Sports. Established in 1957, the institute oversees all sporting activity in Israel and has grown to include many divisions, including an elite school for gifted young athletes, as well as the Department of Sports Medicine.

With many warm months in Israel throughout the year, along with its magnificent coastline, Israel encourages outdoor sports such as hiking, surfing, or even just matkot on the beach! These all play big roles in Israel’s society.


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