One of the stories of the World Games was Team Israel, this was their first appearance in the World Lacrosse Championships and many were eager ti find out how they would fair. After they pummeled their fist two foes, questions began to swarm as to whether the team was assembled in the spirit of the games. A number of players on the team lived in the US and not Israel, therefore is this really and National Team from Israel? I believe the rule in international play is each team is allowed to have 4 non - national players but the remainder would have to have citizenship in the particular country. On the surface Israel would not appear to meet that criteria which had some speculating about "ringers". The reality of the situation is they met the FIL criteria and many players had dual citizenship therefore meeting the citizenship requirement. I had the pleasure of speaking o many of the Israeli players as well as their Head Coach and it became very clear to me that this team had its eyes set on winning but also on growing the game. Most of the players have been developing the sport in Ashkelon not too far from the Gaza strip, in fact, the program is open to all players working as an "olive branch" allowing children to play a sport without political preferences in a region that has been plagued with war and violence. I spoke to Jacob Silberlicht, a midfielder for Team Israel, about his role in the program and he hit me with a very sobering comment. Jacob not only has devoted numerous hours to developing the game of lacrosse in Israel but he will be joining six other players of Team Israel serving in Israel's military when he returns from the World Games. As he spoke, it was quite apparent that his passionate involvement in lacrosse was muting his thoughts of the future danger that he would be facing. Siberlicht attended Hobart College in the United States, would I question his pride and citizenship, no...no I wouldn't. Good Luck Jacob! It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak to you.
Ari Sussman not only lead the team on offense with 42 points in the 8 games played but he also was tied for the most points in tournament. Lee Coppersmith and Matthew Cherry also contributed to Team Israel's high flying offense. The defense was lead by goalie Hank Altschuler who was second behind Jesse Schwartzman in goals against in the tourney with 4.38 a stunning display between the pipes. Altschuler had a help by his defense as they were stellar Co- Captain Benjamin Smith was great as a long stick middie, overall the Israel defense was tough.
Team Israel may have earned a spot in the top division for the 2018 World Lacrosse Championships in Manchester, England by placing 7th overall in the tournament. Israel lost a close game against Australia or we might be discussing a 4th place finish.