Sport, national identity, and media discourse over foreign athletes in Israel

Eran Shor, Yuval Yonay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article looks at the perception of Jewish-Israeli nationality and the boundaries of the Israeli collective, as reflected in the media coverage of foreign basketball and soccer players during the years 2002-2006. We show that while foreign athletes play a central role in the efforts of Israeli sport clubs, they remain largely excluded from the Israeli collective. At times they are partially included in the collective via discourses that emphasize their contribution to the "common good." However, this inclusion remains provisional and incomplete. Much like in other countries, it is contingent on excellence on the court. We also show the dominance of a unique ethno-Jewish discourse, demanding that foreign and naturalized players, especially if they are not Jewish, constantly pronounce their loyalty to the state and demonstrate familiarity with the Jewish people and their religion, language, and traditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-503
Number of pages21
JournalNationalism and Ethnic Politics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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