As June arrived, city streets across Israel were plastered with posters promoting the UEFA Under-21 Championship soccer tournament, held this year for the first time in Israel.

Soccer – mostly known as football in Israel – is “king” among Israeli sports fans, and public excitement mounted in anticipation of the nation hosting its most important international sporting event in decades – perhaps the biggest since the Paralympic Games in 1968. Besides being big soccer fans, Israelis also were buoyed by a sense of besting the relentless global campaign to isolate the Jewish state.

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