Sports in Israel

Sports are a very large aspect of culture and life in Israel.  This is similar to many other European cultures.  Israeli athletics date all the way back to the initial establishment of the country in 1948.  While there are many professional teams, the majority of people engage in sports as a competitive pass time.  The goal of producing elite professional athletes does not take nearly as much precedent as it does in other countries.  The reason for this is the military service requirement.  This means that unlike in America where the majority of people watch sports, in Israel the majority engages in sports.  It has a very entertaining and inviting allure surrounding it.  The popular sports in Israel include football (American soccer), basketball, and most water sports.  Through sports, the rest of the world is able to relate to Israel in a way that does not involve the controversy that surrounds it.  They too participate in the Olympic Games as well as holding their very own Maccabiah Games, a very large cultural event for the entire country.  It has not always been the case that athletics in Israel was so popular.  While it is true that it has been Jewish tradition to have a healthy mind and body, Israel has rejected competitive athletics in the passed.  Through sports, Israel has developed a very different aspect of culture among people of all ages.  Having something that the entire country takes part in and enjoys is a very rare occurrence.  Sports have become somewhat of a cultural revolution for the state of Israel. 

 This website can be broken down into a series of pages that develop different aspects of Sports in Israel and how they help make up its culture. 

Table of Contents     

The History of Sports in Israel

The Maccabi Games

The Olympic Games

Basketball & Soccer

Water Sports/Other Sports


Website Design

Leigh Kaplan 2006

Jewish Studies 225 Modern Israeli Culture at Trinity College

Professor Levana Polate


All material used for this website was abstracted and adapted for educational purposes only.