Touchdown Israel


Cinearts at Palo Alto Square Sat, Jul 26, 2014 1:45 PM
Castro Theatre Sun, Jul 27, 2014 11:30 AM
Grand Lake Theater Sat, Aug 9, 2014 2:00 PM
Smith Rafael Film Center Sun, Aug 10, 2014 1:45 PM
Film Info
Director(s):Paul Hirschberger
Year of Production:2014
Running Time:85
Premiere Status:World
Social Issue


Click HERE to view trailer.

Flash quiz: name a Jewish pro football player. Stumped? No wonder, there have been precious few. So Israel is the last place you would expect the corn-fed, Friday Night Lights tradition of American football to catch on. But don’t tell that to the passionate players and coaches in the 11-team Israel Football League, who play for nothing but pride and have had to endure years of matches played on woefully short soccer fields, under bad lighting, with no locker rooms, in front of an indifferent public. Touchdown Israel is a surprising look at how the gridiron sport has found an unlikely toehold in the Holy Land. Initially imported in the 1990s by American-born Israelis who deeply missed the scrimmages of their youth, American football in Israel has had to counter not only the vastly more popular appeal of soccer and basketball, but legions of Jewish mothers worried about their grown sons’ injuries. As league macher Steve Leibowitz claims, “Jewish mothers somehow don’t get it, it’s nice to be bruised.” But the documentary has serious points to make as well, as it examines the Jewish-Arab camaraderie (and occasional tensions) within the multiethnic lineup of the Tel Aviv–Jaffa Sabres, as well as the controversial “bad boy” profile of the Judean Rebels, a team composed largely of West Bank settlers. Some rivalries go deeper than sports. -Peter L. Stein

World Premiere

Sponsored by the Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation

Director Paul Hirschberger in person