Israeli football, maybe more than any other cultural phenomenon, has changed radically since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Over the past seven decades, Israeli football has evolved from an amateur hobby of a few “sports freaks” to a passion of the masses. The transformation into a major cultural phenomenon is the result of general developments in Israeli and international society, but also of the enthusiastic efforts of key individuals. Thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands, of people—athletes, coaches, referees, politicians, officials, media people, and many others—have contributed to the development of Israeli football. Throughout this chapter, a developmental approach, one that Norbert Elias describes as “indispensable for advances in the study of human society”, has been used to describe the process in which football (soccer) was developed and became a passion of the masses in the State of Israel.
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