Halperin returns to play for Hapoel Jerusalem

Maccabi Tel Aviv backtracked on its verbal agreement with Halperin after it became apparent that Sylven Landesberg will not be leaving.

August 2, 2013 01:10
1 minute read.
YOTAM HALPERIN scored a team-high 16 points in Israel’s 79-71 over Italy last week in its first Grou

Yotam Halperin 311. (photo credit: FIBA EUROPE Web Site)

After being incessantly linked with a return to his boyhood club Maccabi Tel Aviv over recent years, Yotam Halperin will be back playing in Israel once more in the coming season, but for Hapoel Jerusalem.

The 29-year-old guard, who became one of Maccabi’s top Israeli players between 2006 and 2008, was hoping to return to the yellow-and-blue for a third tenure and said just last week that while no official agreement has been reached, it’s only a “formality” until he will be a Tel Aviv player yet again.

However, Maccabi backtracked on its verbal agreement with Halperin after it became apparent that Sylven Landesberg will not be leaving the team as initially expected, meaning there was no longer any need for Halperin’s services.

Halperin, who left Maccabi in 2008 for a lucrative deal at Greek powerhouse Olympiacos before going on to play for Spartak St. Petersburg, as well as Bayern Munich last season, was nevertheless insistent on returning to Israel and quickly closed a deal with the eager Jerusalem.

New Hapoel owner Ori Allon has been desperate to bring in as many senior Israeli players as possible since taking over the club last month and the fact that most of them had already joined other teams earlier in the summer made Halperin a prize asset.

“I’m proud to have signed the Israel captain for three years,” said Allon on his Facebook page before taunting Maccabi for its dependence on its foreigners.

“We believe that Hapoel Jerusalem should be built around the best Israeli players and Yotam is an excellent example of that.”

Halperin was the fourth Israeli player signed by Hapoel in just 24 hours, with Yaniv Green, Elishay Kadir and Chanan Coleman all joining on Wednesday.

“I’m happy and excited to be joining Hapoel Jerusalem,” said Halperin.

“This is a new journey for me at a big club and I’m ready and waiting for the challenge. Our goal is to build an exciting and winning team.”

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