Playing in the Holy Land

Runners race through Jerusalem’s walled Old City during the first Jerusalem Marathon this spring.

The easy assumption to make about the Israeli sporting culture is that it’s a place where athletics are used as distraction from an often-troubled reality.  

Easy, yes. But not exactly accurate.

For reporters in the country this spring on a trip centered around the first Jerusalem?Marathon, the storyline seemed simple when a bombing struck the city days before the race. And though mayor Nir Barkat broached the incident in a prerace news conference, talk soon returned to the course’s hilly nature and historic setting.

It didn’t seem forced or head-in-the-sand. It could have been Mayor Menino talking about Boston.

All in all, it seems, sports are popular in Israel for the same reasons they are in the U.S. It’s not about distraction. Sport is international.

Pride in Israeli national teams and competitors is palpable there — the Olympic Experience Museum in Tel Aviv is an impressive testament to that. And the Wingate Institute near Netanya is dedicated to turning out top-caliber athletes.

But watching a Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball game in a sports bar is just like catching the Celtics.

Israel’s just as active in participatory sports. An Appalachian Trail-style hike bisects the country from north to south, and smaller trails wind through historic sites outside Jerusalem. There’s mountain biking, climbing and golf (yes, really), too.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…