How can Israel, a country with only a thousand baseball players, be part of the six teams that qualify for the Tokyo Olympics? And how can he come out on top of his group stage at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, the equivalent of the World Cup?
It’s simple: its players, like its fans, come from the United States, and in particular from New York. Out of twenty-four players, only four were born in the Hebrew state, the rest are minor league baseball players, major league retirees, and even a few talented amateurs, all of them Americans.
To be able to select them, the manager of the team must first convince them to do their Alyah, immigration to Israel. The “law of return” gives every Jew the right to immigrate to the country and obtain nationality there. If he can then go for Olympic medals, that’s a significant bonus.
As the New York Times says, the Israel team has been around since 1990, but only recently found success. Indeed, assembling the best Jewish players requires careful research.
Sold out matches
«It’s not hard to find the Cohens and the Levys, but go find a Ty Kelly», Explains Peter Kurz, manager of Team Israel. The former New York Mets player, whose mother is Jewish, joined the team in 2019.
Despite this original selection process, the Israel national team does not see itself as a team created from scratch in the manner of the Israelis. Qatari national handball team, built by nationalizing hard. «We have a chemistry, a brotherhood that no other team has“, Said pitcher Matt Soren.
Even though top Jewish players aren’t that many, New York City, home to a large Jewish community, has had a love affair with baseball for years. In the Big Apple region, where Team Israel is on an exhibition tour upstream from Tokyo, it is sold out.
Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.
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