Jerusalem Big Blue Lions repeat as Israel Bowl Champions



Jerusalem QB David Abell MVP of Israel Bowl XI

The 2017-2018 season ended with Israel Bowl XI being played at Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem as the Jerusalem Big Blue Lions defeated the Petah Tikva Troopers 28-20 to repeat as Israel Football League champions.  The Lions also finished the season with an undefeated record.

Lions’ QB David Abell connected with Ezzy Jaski for 28 and 30 yard touchdown passes in the third quarter to give the Lions a 22-8 lead but the Troopers stormed back with two touchdown passes of their own from Avrami Farkas to Gideon Reiz.  The second touchdown from 62 yards with 9:23 left to pull within 28-20 in the fourth quarter.  The Troopers, making their first Israel Bowl appearance, had a chance to tie the game in the late stages of the fourth quarter; however, after failing to convert on fourth-and-10 with 1:44 remaining near mid-field, the Lions took over on downs to run out the clock.

Abell would finish the game with 122 passing yards along with a game-high 138 rushing yards on 14 carries. Abell was awarded Israel Bowl XI MVP honors.

Jerusalem finished the regular season in first place and easily defeated the Tel Aviv Pioneers 54-12 in the semifinals.  This was Jerusalem’s sixth Israel Bowl appearance.  They are 3-3 in Israel’s version of the Super Bowl.

You can watch Israel Bowl XI here on YouTube.

Scoring Summary:

  • First Quarter
    • Jerusalem – Jerome Wojtalik 2-yard run (PAT Run no good)
      • Jerusalem 6, Petah Tikva 0
    • Petah Tikva – Jonathan Curran 18-yard pass from Avrami Farkas (PAT Dani Eastman Run)
      • Petah Tikva 8, Jerusalem 6
  • Second Quarter
    • Jerusalem – Ezzy Jaski 28-yard pass from David Abell (PAT Nechemia Kaplinsky pass from Abell)
      • Jerusalem 14, Petah Tikva 8
  • Third Quarter
    • Jerusalem – Jaski 30-yard pass from Abell (PAT Kaplinsky pass from Abell)
      • Jerusalem 22, Petah Tikva 8
    • Petah Tikva – Gideon Reiz 28-yard pass from Farkas (PAT Run no good)
      • Jerusalem 22, Petah Tikva 14
  • Fourth Quarter
    • Jerusalem – Abell 21-yard run (PAT Pass No Good)
      • Jerusalem 28, Petah Tikva 14
    • Petah Tikva – Reiz 62-yard pass from Farkas (PAT No Good)
      • Jerusalem 28, Petah Tikva 20


2017-2018 Israel Football League Final Standings

  1. Jerusalem Big Blue Lions (10-0)
  2. Judean Rebels (7-3)
  3. Petah Tikva Troopers (5-5)
  4. Haifa Underdogs (5-5)
  5. Tel Aviv Pioneers (4-6)
  6. Mazkeret Batya Silverbacks (2-8)
  7. Beersheva Black Swarm (2-8)
  • Wildcard Round
    • Tel Aviv 28, Haifa 6
    • Petah Tikva 38, Mazkeret Batya 6
  • Semifinals
    • Jerusalem 54, Tel Aviv 12
    • Petah Tikva 46, Judean 30
  • Israel Bowl XI
    • Jerusalem 28, Petah Tikva 20


American Football In Israel Kicks Off 11th Season


Jerusalem Defeats Petah Tikva In Israel Football League Season Opener

The American version of tackle football kicked off its 11th season today. Eight teams throughout the middle eastern country participate in the Israel Football League which is backed by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his family.  Kraft, who is Jewish, has been heavily invested in Israel, both financially and emotionally, and is close friends with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.   This past summer, Kraft took a group of Pro Football Hall of Famers to Israel for “Touchdown Israel II”.  The group included Jim Brown, Joe Greene, Joe Montana, Roger Staubach and others as ambassador of the sport.

The current season started with the following teams:

  • Haifa Underdogs
  • Jerusalem Big Blue Lions
  • Tel Aviv Pioneers
  • Beersheva Black Swarm
  • Judean Rebels
  • Rama HaSharon Hammers
  • Petah Tikva Troopers
  • Mazkeret Batia Silverbacks

The teams play on various soccer fields but starting this season, the Kraft Family opened the Kraft Family Sports Campus in Jerusalem.  The 25-acre, multi-sports venue includes the first three regulation-sized football fields in the Middle East.  The 10-game regular season schedule runs from November to March.

The Israel Bowl is the leagues’ championship game.  The Jerusalem Lions beat the Tel Aviv Pioneers last season for the Israel Bowl X title.    The Lions are again favorites to win the title.  Here were the final standings last season (2016-2017):

North Division

  • Petah Tikva Troopers (9-1)
  • Tel Aviv Pioneers (8-2)
  • Ramat HaSharon Hammers (5-5)
  • Haifa Underdogs (2-7-1)

South Division

  • Jerusalem Lions (9-1)
  • Efrat Rebels (6-4)
  • Be’er Sheva Black Swarm (2-7-1)
  • Mazkeret Batia Silverbacks (0-10)


  • Wildcard games:  Efrat 36, Ramat HaSharon 14, Tel Aviv 68, Be’er Sheva 40
  • Division Championships:  Jerusalem 48, Efrat 40, Tel Aviv 44, Petah Tikva 32
  • Israel Bowl X:  Jerusalem 44, Tel Aviv 36

American’s version of football isn’t as popular as it is in the United States but the sport is growing as there are currently 1,350 active football players in the country.  Kraft’s late wife, Myra, was also responsible in promoting the sport to women as she had donated millions of dollars to women’s flag football in Israel.