The Shmooze

Israel's New Soccer Star on Rise

By Elliot Olshansky

  • Print
  • Share Share
getty images
Tomer Hemed

A new Israeli soccer star is on the rise.

Tomer Hemed turned Israel’s recent World Cup qualifying games against Luxembourg into his own personal coming out party. The 25-year-old striker scored a hat trick in Israel’s 6-0 win in Luxembourg City last Friday, and then followed it up with two more goals in a 3-0 win on Tuesday at Ramat Gan Stadium. The lopsided wins allowed Israel to move into a second-place tie with Portugal in the six-team qualifying group, with Israel having the edge on goal differential.

Of course, if it were just a matter of whipping up on one of Europe’s soccer minnows - Luxembourg is the lowest seed in Israel’s group, and the fourth-lowest seed in Europe - then Hemed’s heroics wouldn’t mean all that much. As it happens, however, the Haifa native’s star turn comes in the midst of a breakout season in Spain, where Hemed is in his second season with Mallorca.

In seven games so far this season, Hemed has five goals and an assist for Mallorca, which currently sits in sixth place out of 20 teams in La Liga with a record of three wins, two draws and two losses. If the season ended today, Mallorca would qualify for the UEFA Europa League for the first time in its history. Moreover, only three players in Spain have scored more goals than Hemed this season, and two of them - Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Barcelona star Lionel Messi - run neck and neck in discussions of the world’s best footballer.

Of course, Hemed has a long way to go before he can even think of sharing that rareified air, or even to catch up with fellow Maccabi Haifa product Yossi Benayoun as Israel’s top soccer export. Benayoun played three seasons in La Liga with Racing Santander, scoring 20 goals in three years before moving on to England, where he has 184 career Premier League appearances with West Ham, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal. At 32, Benayoun is having trouble getting playing time this season at West Ham and has been dropped from the national team roster.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: tomer hemed, soccer, jewish, israel

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.