Every four years, 3.5 billion people are riveted by a single sporting event. For a full month, half the world’s population eats, sleeps and breathes the FIFA World Cup, in which national teams from 32 countries square off to determine who will emerge as the planet’s greatest soccer team.
Israel rarely reaches the final tournament as, due to political pressure, it is placed in the European qualifying group, rather than the Asian or African groups in which other Middle Eastern countries compete. The Israeli team is good, but just cannot compete with soccer powers such as France, Italy, Belgium, Spain or Portugal. So Israel is essentially excluded from World Cup play and Israelis sit at home watching as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia play for the glory. [Read more…]