Israeli Premier League
The Israeli Premier League is an Israeli professional league for association football clubs. It is the highest tier of the professional Israeli football league system, contested by 14 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with Liga Leumit. Seasons run from August to May, with teams playing 32 matches each, five games are played on Saturdays, with one game played on Sundays and one game on Mondays. It is sponsored by Toto Winner and therefore known as Ligat Winner. The competition formed on 1999 following the decision of the Israeli Football Association to form a new league, since 1923, a total of 14 clubs have been crowned champions of the Israeli football system. The current champions are Hapoel Beer Sheva, who won the 2015–16 season, the Israeli Premier League was created in 1999 to replace Liga Leumit when the Israel Football Association decided to reshuffle all the leagues in hopes of improving competition. In its first season there were 14 clubs, the top thirteen clubs from the 1998–99 season and that season three clubs were relegated and one from Liga Leumit was promoted. Over the years the league has changed names though the new names were simply commercial rebranding, including Ligat Pelephone, Ligat Toto, there are 14 clubs in the league. At the end of season, the two lowest-placed teams are relegated to Liga Leumit while two highest-placed teams of Liga Leumit are promoted in their place. For the 2012–13 season the league was decreased from 16 to 14 clubs as a result of reforms passed by the IFA on 27 June 2011, the participating clubs first play a conventional round-robin schedule for a total of 26 matches. Following this, the top six teams play in a championship playoff, upon its conclusion, the first place team wins the Israeli championship and qualifies to participate in the second qualifying round of the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League. The runners-up and the third-placed teams qualify for the qualifying round of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League. In Addition, the Israeli State Cup winners qualify for the qualifying round of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League. If the State Cup winners are also one of the teams to finish in the top three places then the fourth-placed team will also play in Europa League. In case the State Cup winners also win the Israeli Premier League then the league team will play in Europa League second qualifying round. In addition, the eight teams will play each other once to avoid two relegation spots. A total of 27 clubs have played in the Israeli Premier League from its inception in 1999, for a list of winners and runners-up of the Israeli Premier League since its inception, and top scorers for each season, see List of Israeli football champions. Four clubs have been members of the Israeli Premier League for every season since its inception and this group is composed of Beitar Jerusalem, Hapoel Tel Aviv, Maccabi Haifa, and Maccabi Tel Aviv
Hapoel Tel Aviv F.C.
Hapoel Tel-Aviv Football Club is an Israeli football club based in Tel Aviv. The club currently competes in the Israeli Premier League and plays its matches at the Bloomfield Stadium. To date, the club has won thirteen championships and sixteen State Cups, in 1967 Hapoel Tel Aviv became the first club to win the Asian Club Championships. It is also one of only 3 Israeli teams to have qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage, the club name, Hapoel, translates to The Worker, and combined with its red Hammer and sickle crest represents the club ties to Socialism and working class. For seven decades, the club was owned by Israeli largest trade union, Hapoel Tel Aviv F. C. was originally established in 1923, but was disbanded soon after. The club was re-formed in 1925, and then for a time in May 1926. In 1927 the club merged with Allenby F. C. giving the club its modern form and it is part of the Hapoel sports association which was affiliated with the Histadrut trade union, and supporters of the club were often referred to as communists. In 1928 the club reached the Palestine Cup final, although they beat Maccabi Hasmonean Jerusalem 2–0, Hapoel fielded an ineligible player, resulting in the cup being shared. The 1934–35 season saw Hapoel led the table, but the championship was abandoned. The 1937–38 season ended the way, with Hapoel top of the league. In the meantime, the won the cup again in 1937,1938 and 1939. In 1939–40 they won their second championship, the following season no national championships were held, but the club won the tournament for Hapoel-affiliated clubs. Following Israeli independence, Hapoel joined the new Israeli League and they won the title in 1956–57 and the State Cup in 1961, beating Hapoel Petah Tikva 2–1. In the 1965–66 season Hapoel won the title, and qualified for the first Asian Club Championships, in the tournament Hapoel were given byes all the way to the final, where they beat Selangor 2–1 to become Asias first club champions. The club also reached the State Cup final that year, Hapoel won the title again in 1968–69, and again qualified for the Asian Club championships. Although they reached the final, they lost 2–1 to Iranian side Taj Club, the following season they reached the cup final again, but lost 1–0 to Hapoel Yehud. A hat-trick of cup final defeats was avoided when they beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 3–2 in the 1982 final, another title was won in 1985–86, and another in 1987–88. However, the following season Hapoel finished bottom of the league and were relegated to the second tier for the first time in their history
Maccabi Sha'arayim F.C.
Maccabi Shaarayim is an Israeli football club from the city Rehovot, currently playing in Liga Leumit. The club spent the past seven seasons in the top division from 1963 to 1969, the club was promoted to Liga Leumit for the first time in 1963. In their first season in the league they finished 11th out of 15, the following season the club finished sixth, which remains their highest ever league position. In the 1965–66 season they avoided relegation, finishing one place above the relegation zone. In 1969 Maccabi reach the cup final for the first time, in the same season they finished second bottom of the league and were relegated back to Liga Alef. The final match of the 1971–72 season saw the club have a chance to return to the top flight, but they lost 2–1 to Hapoel Marmorek, which were promoted instead. Two years later qualified for the promotion/relegation play-offs, but failed to win any of their five matches. At the end of the 1977–78 season they finished bottom of Liga Artzit and were relegated to Liga Alef, however, they finished bottom, and were relegated back to Liga Artzit. At the end of the 2011–12 season the club returned to Liga Alef, in the 2015–16 season, the club won Liga Alef South division and promoted to Liga Leumit. Thus, the returned to the second tier of Israeli football after 23 years
Mordechai Motaleh Spiegler is a former Israeli footballer and manager. He remains Israels record goalscorer, with 33 goals in 83 caps, as a striker, he played for Maccabi Netanya along with Paris Saint Germain in France and alongside Pelé for New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League in the 1970s. He was chosen as the Israeli Player of the Year a record four times, in 1967/68, 1968/69, 1969/70, Spiegler made his international debut for Israel on 2 January 1964 against Hong Kong. He took part in the Israeli win in the 1964 AFC Asian Cup, and scored 2 goals at the tournament and his major achievement was helping Israel qualify for the Football World Cup 1970 in Mexico. He scored Israels lone goal in World Cup history in a 1–1 draw against Sweden and his 32 goals for the national team is the Israeli record. Spiegler scored 25 goals in 62 official internationals for the Israeli national side, Spiegler captained the Israeli Olympic team at Mexico City 1968 which reached the quarter-finals, losing to Bulgaria by a draw after the match ended 1–1. He was nominated as the best Israeli player of the prior 50 years by the Israel Football Association in the UEFA Jubilee Awards in November 2003, Spiegler is a member of the Education and Publicity Committee of the IFA. In 2007, he won a lifetime contributions special award for the Israeli national team in the 1970 world cup, determined by Yedioth Ahronoth, list of select Jewish football players