Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Israeli National Baseball Team Qualifies For 2020 Olympics

(JTA) — In a historic first, Israel’s national baseball team qualified for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The team defeated South Africa on Sunday at the Europe/Africa Qualifier tournament in Italy. It finished the qualifier with a record of 5-1.

Israel has become the only team besides Japan to qualify for next summer’s games.

The team advanced to the qualifier a week ago after coming in fourth place in the European Championships.

Baseball will be a featured sport at the 2020 Olympics, the first time the sport has made an appearance since 2008. It was added with no guarantee that it will return in 2024. The tournament will consist of six national teams, with Japan automatically receiving a spot as host nation. Three more qualifying events are scheduled between now and next summer’s games.

The Israeli team, which is packed with Jewish-American college players and some pros, had the country’s best showing in the last World Baseball Classic in 2017, surprising many by making the main tournament, where it finished sixth.

While the World Baseball Classic only requires that players be eligible for citizenship of the country they represent, for Olympic qualifying tournaments and for the actual Olympics players must be citizens of the country they represent. The majority of the national team players is Jewish Americans who received citizenship in order to play or Israelis who live in the United States.

The Israel Association of Baseball runs five leagues throughout the country for players ages 6 to adult. Its Israel Baseball Academy is recognized by Major League Baseball as the elite program for 14-21 year-old baseball players in Israel. Its Baseball Le’Kulam (For Everyone) program, brings together Jewish Israel and Arab Israeli 6th graders three times a year to learn to play baseball and to get to know one another.


  • Events

    Haart to Haart


    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.