Known as much for his basketball skills, as for his towering 6’10” height, Amar'e Stoudemire has played for major teams such as the New York Knicks and the Phoenix Suns. An Olympic bronze medal winner, he now coaches the NBA team Brooklyn Nets. He also founded the Each One, Teach One foundation.
Being the son of basketball player and coach Zufer Avdija, Israeli-Serbian small forward Deni Avdija was destined to excel in the sport. The Washington Wizards player is known for his towering 6’9” frame. Beginning his career with Maccabi Tel Aviv, he later won 2 FIBA U20 European Championship golds for Israel.
Former player and Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt has also worked as a successful basketball executive for the New York Knicks. He has won multiple European titles, such as the EuroCup with the Russian team Dynamo Saint Petersburg and the Euroleague with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Eran Zahavi is an Israeli football player. One of the most important players of the current national team, Zahavi was adjudged Israeli Footballer of the Year in 2013 and 2014. Over the years, he has also been a star player in the Israeli Premier League, finishing as the top goal-scorer in three consecutive seasons starting from the 2013–14 season.
Omri Casspi is a retired professional basketball player who became the first Israeli to be chosen in an NBA draft's first round when he was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the 2009 NBA draft. Omri Casspi also became the first Israeli player to appear in an NBA game when he made his debut for the Sacramento Kings in 2009.
Nicknamed The Kid and The Diamond from Dimona, Israeli footballer Yossi Benayoun has led his country’s national team as its captain. He now serves Beitar Jerusalem as its sporting director. Starting his career at 17, he has represented teams such as Maccabi Haifa, Liverpool, and Chelsea.
Legendary Soviet chess player Boris Gelfand is known for being part of the world’s top 20 players for most of his life. His accomplishments include two Belarusian national titles and a Chess World Cup. An author, too, he has co-written books such as Positional Decision Making in Chess.
T. J. Leaf is an Israeli-American professional basketball player who was last associated with the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Named an All-American as a high school senior in 2016, he made his professional debut with Indiana Pacers the following year. He currently plays for Portland Trail Blazers as a free agent.
Tomer Hemed is an Israeli football player who plays as a striker for the Israel national team and the Australian club Western Sydney Wanderers FC. One of the most important members of the national team, Hemed won the Israel Footballer of the Year award for his performance in the 2017–18 season.
Avram Grant is an Israeli football coach and manager known for his work with popular teams like Chelsea Football Club, Portsmouth, and West Ham United. He also coached the Ghana national football team from 2014 to 2017, helping the team reach the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Final where they lost to the Ivory Coast in a penalty shoot-out.
Moanes Dabour is an Arab-Israeli football player who plays as a forward for the Israel national team and the Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. During the 2012–13 season, Dabour scored 10 goals in 26 matches and helped the Maccabi Tel Aviv Football Club win the Israeli League Championship, their first championship victory after a ten-year period.
Pini Zahavi is an Israeli sports agent best known for his association with football. Zahavi is renowned for playing a key role in the change of ownership of Portsmouth and Chelsea Football Club. As a football agent, he was responsible for the then record-breaking transfer of English football player Rio Ferdinand to Leeds United from West Ham for £18 million.
Agnes Keleti is a Hungarian-Israeli former artistic gymnast and coach. A former Olympic and world champion, Keleti won 10 Olympic medals including two bronze medals, three silver medals, and five gold medals. She is regarded as one of the most successful Jewish Olympians of all time. In 2001, Agnes Keleti was inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.
Bibras Natkho is a Circassian-Israeli football player who plays for the Serbian club Fudbalski klub Partizan. He also plays for the Israel national football team. Natkho is the first player of Circassian-Muslim origin to captain the Israel national team.
Tal Ben Haim is an Israeli professional football player who has represented popular teams like Chelsea, Manchester City, Portsmouth, and Maccabi Tel Aviv. Renowned for his versatility, Ben Haim can play at either right back or centre back. He was last seen playing for the Beitar Jerusalem Football Club in 2021.
Beram Kayal is an Arab-Israeli football player who currently plays in the Israeli Premier League where he represents Bnei Sakhnin F.C. Since 2008, Kayal has been an important member of the Israel national football team. A hard-working midfielder, Beram Kayal is renowned for his speed, passing ability, aggressive tackling, and high stamina level.
Yossef Romano was an Israeli weightlifter who competed in the 1972 Munich Oympics in West Germany. An Israeli weight-lifting champion for nine years, Romano was among the 11 Israeli team members who were killed in the 1972 Munich massacre, an attack by a terrorist group named Black September. Romano was 32 years old at the time of his death.
Ben Sahar is an Israeli football player who plays for the Israel national team and Maccabi Haifa Football Club. A striker, Sahar helped Maccabi Haifa win the 2021 Israel Super Cup as well as the Toto Cup. He has also represented other popular teams like Chelsea FC and Hapoel Tel Aviv, helping the latter win the 2010 Israel State Cup.
Zufer Avdija is a Serbian–Israeli basketball coach and retired player. As a player, he played in the Yugoslav Basketball League, representing the Košarkaški klub Crvena zvezda during the 1980s. He also played for several Israeli clubs, including Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Rishon LeZio during the 1990s. Avdija also appeared in international games, representing the Yugoslavian national basketball team.
Gal Mekel is an Israeli basketball player who plays for MoraBanc Andorra. He has also appeared in the Israeli Super League, representing teams like Maccabi Haifa. In 2011 and 2013, Mekel was honored with the Israeli Super League MVP award. In 2013, he became the second Israeli to represent an NBA team when he was signed by the Dallas Mavericks.
Lior Refaelov is an Israeli football player who plays for the Israel national team and Belgian football club Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht. From 2004 to 2011, he represented Maccabi Haifa Football Club, helping the team win the Israeli Premier League thrice. In 2015, Lior Refaelov helped Anderlecht win the Belgian Cup by scoring the winning goal in the final game.
Yuri Foreman is an Israeli boxer who currently fights out of Brooklyn, New York City, New York. From 2009 to 2010, he was the WBA super welterweight champion. Nicknamed the Boxing Rabbi, Foreman pursued Jewish religious studies and was ordained as a rabbi in 2014. He has also appeared in TV shows and films like Jimmy Kimmel Live and Fighting.
Linoy Ashram is an Israeli rhythmic gymnast best known for winning the rhythmic individual all-around gold medal in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Ashram is the first rhythmic gymnast from Israel to win an Olympic medal. She is also the first Israeli woman and only the third Israeli athlete to win an Olympic gold medal.
Andre Spitzer was a fencing master who served as the coach of Israel's 1972 Summer Olympics team. He served in the Israeli Air Force before studying fencing at Israel's National Sport Academy. He became Israel’s top fencing instructor at the age of 27. He was killed in the terrorist attack known as the Munich massacre.
Alex Tyus is an American-Israeli basketball player who plays for the popular Turkish professional basketball team Pınar Karşıyaka. He has also played for the Israeli national basketball team. In 2018, Alex Tyus was honored with the prestigious Israeli Basketball Premier League Finals MVP award.
Moshe Weinberg was an Israeli wrestler and coach. A former wrestling champion, Weinberg began his career as a coach at the Wingate Institute. He then went on to become the coach of the Israel national team and accompanied the Israel contingent that traveled to compete in the infamous 1972 Munich Olympics; Weinberg was among the victims of the Munich massacre.
Salamo Arouch was a Jewish Greek boxer remembered for winning the Greek Middleweight Boxing Championship and the All-Balkans Middleweight Championship in 1938 and 1939 respectively. He is best remembered for surviving the Holocaust by performing as an entertainment boxer for Nazi officers. His life inspired the 1989 drama film Triumph of the Spirit where he was played by Willem Dafoe.
David Mark Berger was an American Israeli professional weightlifter who won a gold medal in the 1969 Maccabiah Games. Berger was among the 11 Israeli Olympians who were taken hostage and murdered by a Palestinian terrorist group named Black September while visiting Munich, West Germany, to participate in the 1972 Summer Olympics. He was 28 years old when he died.
Dean Kremer is an Israeli-American baseball pitcher who plays in the Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles. He is the first Israeli to be drafted by a Major League Baseball team. Kremer is best known for helping the American baseball team win the gold medal in the 2013 Maccabiah Games.
Sylven Landesberg is an American-Austrian basketball player who competes in the Chinese Basketball Association where he is currently representing the Zhejiang Golden Bulls. He also plays for the Austria national basketball team. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Sylven Landesberg was the 2008 New York State Mr. Basketball and McDonald's High School All American in high school.
Omer Damari is an Israeli former footballer and the present head coach of the Hapoel Tel Aviv Football Club's U17 team. As a player, Damari represented teams like Hapoel Tel Aviv, playing an important role in the team's 2012 Israel State Cup victory. He also represented the Israel national football team during his playing career.
Lonah Chemtai Salpeter is a Kenyan-Israeli runner who has won gold medals at the 2018 European Championships and 2020 World Marathon Majors, representing Israel. She also took part in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics where she competed in the marathon. Chemtai holds the current Israeli national record for the best time in the marathon.
Known as one of the greatest American basketball players to play overseas, Deon Thomas has represented 6 countries, including Israel, Greece, and Bulgaria. In spite of being drafted by the NBA team Dallas Mavericks, he chose to have a career away from the US. He later coached the University of Illinois team.
Alla Kushnir was a celebrated Soviet-born Israel chess player, who began her career in her birth country, becoming a Woman International Master and winning two Women's Chess Olympiads before migrating to Israel. There she continued to excel, eventually becoming Woman Grandmaster. Also three times Women's World Chess Championship Challenger, she later became a professor of archeology at Tel Aviv University.
Being the son of former American basketball player Nancy Lieberman, T. J. Cline was no stranger to the sport as a child. He later represented the Richmond Spiders and then the Israeli national team. Known for his 6’9” frame, now plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Soviet Greco-Roman wrestler Mark Slavin had chosen wrestling as a means to defend himself against anti-Semitic attacks. He moved to Israel 4 months before the Munich Olympics and represented Israel in the event. At 18, he was the youngest victim of the Munich massacre and died during a failed rescue attempt.
Legendary Israeli tennis player Andy Ram is a 3-time Olympian. Best known for his wins as part of the duo AndiYoni with Jonathan Erlich. The son of a soccer player, who gave up his career due to injuries, Andy wasn’t allowed to play soccer and thus chose tennis.
Born in the Soviet Union, Ze'ev Friedman moved first to Poland and then to Israel. Initially a gymnast, he later switched to weightlifting. At 28, the Asian Weightlifting Championship bronze medal winner became a victim of the Munich massacre, in which 11 Israeli Olympic team members were shot dead.
The daughter of Ukrainian immigrants in Israel, Avigail Alfatov has donned many hats already. Apart from being an Israeli fencing champion, she is also a beauty queen and has represented Israel in the 2015 Miss Universe pageant. She has also briefly served the Israeli Air Force.
Israeli footballer Guy Luzon was part of the Maccabi Petah Tikva youth program at age 10. Though a promising sportsperson, an injury made him retire at 21. Post-retirement, he has served as a coach for teams such as Standard Liege, the U-21 Israeli team, Hapoel Tel Aviv, and Maccabi Haifa.
Born in Romania, Kehat Shorr survived the Holocaust. Apart from working for Israel’s defense ministry, he was an Olympic shooting coach for his country. He was taken hostage during the Munich massacre and was one of the 11 people of the Israeli Olympic team who lost their lives in the incident.
Aryeh "Lonk" Selinger, better known as Arie Selinger was rescued by US forces from a Nazi concentration camp and sent to Israel. His volleyball skills quickly earned him a place on Israel’s national team. He later revolutionized American and Dutch volleyball with his remarkable coaching, winning both the teams Olympic medals.
The daughter of Russian immigrants in Israel, Neta Rivkin scripted history by becoming the first Israeli female gymnast to win a major international medal, with her 2011 World Championship bronze win. The 3-time Olympian is now a motivational speaker and mental advisor for athletes and corporates.
Russian-born Israeli gymnast Alexander Shatilov was no stranger to sports as a child, being the son of an acrobatics coach mother and horse-riding instructor father. He began training in gymnastics after being motivated by his mother at age 5. The 4-time Olympian has a European Championship gold in his kitty.
Motivated by his windsurfer father, Gal Fridman began windsurfing at age 7 and started competing at age 13. The Israeli windsurfer later won an Olympic gold and bronze and became one of the two Israeli athletes with 2 Olympic medals. He is also the first Israeli to win an Olympic gold.
Israeli sport shooter Micha Kaufman is also an Olympian, having represented his country at the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montreal, Canada. He has also won Israel Asian Games gold and silver medals. The Russian-born athlete had moved with his parents to Israel at age 13.
Shahar Tzuberi had begun windsurfing at age 7, after being motivated by his father. The Israeli athlete later went on to win an Olympic bronze and 2 RS:X European Championship gold medals, among others. Post-retirement, he is all set to coach the Israeli women’s team in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Israeli foil fencer Delila Hatuel was born into a family of fencers, with both her uncle and aunt being Olympians in the game. Although she participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she wasn’t allowed to participate in the Rio Olympics, as she didn’t fulfil Israel’s criteria, in spite of meeting the international standards.
While football legend Itzik Zohar grew up amid poverty, in a transit camp on the Israeli borders, he was encouraged to play football by his father to make him stay away from the street criminals. He is also a successful TV personality and was part of Israel’s first national beach soccer team.