Football in Israel over the past four years has acquired a distinctly American look, and now a new blue-and-white National Team will this week take on a team from the United States.
The Israel Football League's National Team is scheduled to take on the NCAA Division III Maranatha Baptist Bible College Crusaders out of Wisconsin, USA, with the two teams meeting on the field this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Baptist Village in Petach Tikvah.
Tackle football in Israel actually got off the ground with an initial group of 25 Israeli athletes playing in the Tel Aviv Sportek.
But at this point the league, sponsored by its parent nonprofit American Football in Israel, features more than 600 players nationwide. AFI is the official government-recognized federation for American football in Israel.
In addition, the Kraft family (which backed the construction of Jerusalem's Kraft stadium) owns the (USA) National Football League's New England Patriots and has developed a strong partnership with the Israeli league. The family is helping to nurture and build the support in the Jewish State. AFI is a member of the International Federation of American Football.