ISRAEL INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM
Israel (competing as "Palestine/Eretz Israel") took part in the 1934 & 1938 World Cup Qualification competitions and also played a friendly against Lebanon in 1940.
Just four months after Israel gained independence in 1948, the Israel national football team traveled to New York City to play their American counterparts in a friendly at the Polo Grounds.
Over 40,000 spectators witnessed the newly formed Israeli side lose to the Americans 3-1. Shmuel Ben Dror went down in history as the first goal scorer in the history of the Israel national football team.
In 1954, Israel were founding members of the Asian Football Confederation but were evicted in the early 1970's and now play their football as part of UEFA and are ranked as one of the top 20 teams in the world by FIFA.
In fact recent rankings have put Israel as 16th in the World and 13th in Europe - the highest Israel have achieved since playing their football in Asia.
To date, Israel have played a total of 87 different opponents at National level in competitions as diverse as the World Cup, the Asian Cup & Games, the European Championships and the Olympic Games.
Israel's FIFA World Cup Qualifiers have been played on all five continents - Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania and America - making them unique in world football.
ISRAELI CLUB FOOTBALL
During the British Mandate of Palestine, organized football consisted of British and Jewish clubs. As early as 1906, Maccabi Tel Aviv was formed (orginally called Maccabi HaRishon Le-Zyion).
On April 24 1924 Hapoel Haifa was formed.
In February 1928, the first ever derby took place in the British Mandate between Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Allenby Tel Aviv. Maccabi won 3-0 and was the start of the oldest rivalry which takes place in Israel.
When a cup competition was formed, British teams dominated until May 26, 1928 when two Jewish clubs made it to the final in Jerusalem.
Hapoel Allenby Tel Aviv beat Maccabi HaShmonai Jerusalem 2-0, but the cup was shared since Hapoel had fielded an ineligible player.
Nine teams started the first league in 1932. The first winner of the Israeli football league were the British Police who, under the guidance of Police Chief Speiser, were the best organized club in the country. Later he would serve as the first chairman of the Football Association. Thirteen teams took part in the first Football League after Israel gained its independence. Maccabi Tel Aviv won the 1949-50 championship.
There were no League competitions in 1950-51, 1952-53 and 1966-67.12 clubs competed in the Top Flight of the Israeli League but there are 16 teams from season 2009-10 onwards.