Tribute game to the three slain youths
Tribute game to the three slain youthsCredit: Yoni Kempinski

Basketball pros from the “glory days” of Maccabee Tel Aviv – including Doron Jampchi, Moti Daniel, Eran Bergstein, and many others – took the court Wednesday night in a special tribute game, in memory of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha'er and Naftali Frenkel – the three Israeli teens slain by Hamas terrorists last year. They played against members of the families, friends, and supporters – including the fathers of the three teens.

“Managing” the team were legendary Maccabee captains Tal Brody and Guy Panini. “You can see the enthusiasm of the kids here,” said Brody, pointing to the crowd of hundreds that had gathered to watch the game at a Lod community center. For us, it's a great feeling to play in a tribute game in memory of these kids.”

“This is the second game we are playing in memory of our sons,” said Ofir Sha'er, father of Gilad. “There is a lot of energy and emotion, and for us this is a great tribute and a wonderful gesture.” Uri Yifrach, father of Eyal, said that it was a way for the families “to reconnect with life, to continue with life, despite the difficulties.”

Also participating in the game was Lod Mayor Yair Revivo. “The Maccabee veterans easily won the game by a score of 40-18, but it's no shame to lose to these great players, from one of the most successful teams in Israel's history. Obviously the score isn't the important thing here, but the integration of the love of sport with an effort to unify the nation and remember these slain youths.”