Maccabi Tel-Aviv won the national soccer championship

Eran Zehavi. Wikipedia, Nir Keidar

A resounding 3–0 victory over her bitter rival, Hapoel Be’er Sheva, in their game on Saturday night, completed Maccabi Tel Aviv’s victory in the 2023/2024 season in the Premier League. But the real victory came last week – when Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Maccabi Haifa 1-0, the current champion (holding the title for 3 years) and the only team that could pose a threat in terms of scoring in the table (of course Tel Aviv did was not exactly harmed by Haifa receiving a 2 point drop at the beginning of the season). The league still has two weeks of games left, but now the gap between Tel Aviv and Haifa is enough to determine a championship.

This was a difficult season alltogether, which took place in the shadow of the war – when some of the players were called to the reserves, some of the stadiums were closed, and some of the games were canceled and postponed, and at times restrictions were imposed on public gatherings – and in general, it sometimes seemed that the people of Israel did not have a head for football in the shadow of all the events taking place outside the field. Nevertheless, the players played properly, and the league was tense and enjoyable throughout the year, thus providing a safe haven for those who find it difficult to cope with the events, and a successful source of pure escapism.

This is Maccabi Tel Aviv’s 25th win (or 24th, depending on how you count) in the state championship since the club was founded, almost 100 years ago – a record in which Tel Aviv holds a significant gap from the following on the list (Haifa, and of course the urban rival Hapoel – which fell this year to the National League). Of course, it is impossible to sum up the successful season of Maccabi Tel Aviv without mentioning two key people – first the coach, Robbie Keane, the former star of Tottenham and a fresh coach on the pitch – who managed to build a winning team. And second, of course, Eran Zahavi – the big star who returned to wearing the yellow, and led his team from victory to victory with more than 30 goals.

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