Israel baseball players at World Baseball Classic.
(photo credit: HOWARD BLAS)
Ten Jewish-American baseball players will begin the process of aliyah [becoming an Israeli citizen] in order to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics game as part of the Israeli baseball team
The players are expected to come to Israel now, during the fall, so that they can clock a full year of residency before the games, as per Olympic regulations.
Among the 10 players to arrive are former Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Zack Weiss, pitcher Jonathan Solomon Moscot, Corey Baker, Eric Brodkowitz, Gave Cramer, Jonathan de Marte, Blake Gailen, Alex Katz, Joey Wagman and Jeremy Wolf.
Some of the players played for Team Israel last year, when it competed for the first time in the World Baseball Classic, winning games against teams from Cuba, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Netherlands.
In the World Baseball Classic players are able to play for Israel without being citizens, but different rules apply for the Olympics.
Over the past two years, native-born Israelis – who previously had never taken a shine to the American national pastime – were inspired to play, after the success of the national team.
Peter Kurz, president of the Israel Association of Baseball, believes that the number of people playing baseball rose by 25%.
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The association will build two regulation-size fields this year – one in Beit Shemesh and the other in Ra’anana, on land donated by the municipalities.
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