Maybe it’s going to take a basketball team to unify Israel.
Okay, so maybe it’s not as important as the recent ADL study showing that about 25 percent of people around the world hold some anti-Semitic beliefs.
Nor is it as important as failed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
And after a couple of weeks of watching Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling dig himself in ever deeper, at last we can feel proud about Jews and a basketball game.
On Sunday night, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv surprised even its own fans when it won the Euroleague basketball final, against Real Madrid 96-86. Israeli media described the game, played in Milan, as a “nail-biting victory.”
Israelis were surprised by the mere fact that Israel’s best-known basketball team made it to the final four of the Euroleague tournament this year. Winning the entire tournament shocked everyone, including the players.
Israeli fans are calling the victory the greatest win in the team’s history.
For one evening at least, most Israelis – who seem to be divided about everything, from politics to religion to the rights of women to drafting charedim into the IDF – could agree that their favorite colors are their team’s yellow and blue.
Maccabi last won the coveted European championship with consecutive wins in 2004 and 2005. This year, more than 10,000 Israelis went to Milan to see the team do it again.
Sure, we know that Israelis face many complicated issues. But for this one night in a Milan arena, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv brought this often divided country together.
If only that could be achieved off of the basketball court.