(photo credit: )
The escalation of the military conflict in the North has now taken its toll on Israeli basketball.
FIBA, world basketball's governing body, has notified the Israel Basketball Association that no international games will be allowed to be played in Israel until further notice.
Israel's European Championship qualification opener against Bosnia on August 31 is now likely to be played on foreign soil.
The national team is also scheduled to host Portugal and Macedonia in September.
FIBA Board President George Vasilakopoulos dispatched an official letter to IBA Chairman Yirmi Olmert with the bitter news, setting August 18 as a deadline to find an alternative arena for the games.
However, the decision is not set in stone. Since learning of the possible ban, Maccabi Tel Aviv President Shimon Mizrahi, a leading figure in world basketball, has been succesful in lobbying for a postponement of a final ruling.
FIBA will hold a further meeting on August 19 to reevaluate the situation and announce its final decision.
"We shall learn the ruling and will not give up easily," Olmert said about the development. "I am encouraged by the fact that the decision is not final.
"We will explore other options, but I will invite FIBA security officials to show them that Tel Aviv is safe."
Israel this week returned from a succesful pre-season tournament in Lithuania which saw Tzvika Sherf's team beat Russia and Senegal but lose to Lithuania.
The FIBA ruling follows a similar decision by European soccer's governing body UEFA earlier this week which said all Israeli clubs involved in European compeition must play their home games outside of Israel.
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