The Jewish Sport Report: How the Israel-Hamas war is riling up a South American soccer tournament


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(JTA) — Happy Friday! Is anyone on more of a hot streak than Edmonton Oilers left winger Zach Hyman? Hyman has scored 20 goals in his last 24 games, and has earned points in 17 of those contests.

Hyman netted a hat trick Wednesday — his fourth of the season — to bring his season total to an NHL-second-best 46 goals, which is likely a record among Jewish players. Jack Hughes scored 43 last year for the New Jersey Devils, and Mike Cammalleri had 39 for the Calgary Flames in the 2008-2009 season.

Oh, and there are still 18 games left in the season — a fitting number for a player who wears that very number in part because of its symbolic meaning in Judaism.

Fans of a Chilean soccer team are getting ejected from games for jeering Israel

Fans holding a sign

Fans hold signs reading “stop the genocide” during a soccer match between Nacional of Paraguay and Palestino of Chile in the Copa Libertadores qualifying round, March 5, 2024. (Norberto Duarte/AFP via Getty Images)

Chile is home to the largest number of Palestinians outside the Middle East, with some reports estimating that the population is as large as 500,000.

In 1920, Palestinian immigrants founded a soccer club named Palestino that competes in the country’s highest soccer tier. This week, Palestino advanced to the main group stage in Copa Libertadores, the most prestigious club-level soccer tournament in South America.

At the club’s qualifying game last week, fans chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will win,” a slight rephrasing of a controversial chant, and held posters displaying the message “Stop the genocide” in Spanish. Some of the fans were removed from the stadium by local police.

The team wears uniforms featuring the colors of the Palestinian flag. Its players also sport socks with a map it refers to as “the historical map of Palestine” that does not make any distinction between Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

Read more about Palestino here.

Halftime report

A CHAMPION PASSES. Brooklyn native Walter Blum, who in 1971 became the first (and only) Jewish jockey to win the Belmont Stakes, died Thursday at 89 years old. Blum, who racked up more than 4,000 race wins in a 22–year career, is the only Jewish rider inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

HE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS. Israeli fencer Yuval Freilich, who won a gold medal at the 2024 Qatar Grand Prix in January, has officially qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics, the Israel Fencing Association announced this week. Freilich is currently ranked No. 7 in the world in senior men’s individual epee.

ON THE MARK. Minnesota Vikings owner Mark Wilf has been appointed to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. Wilf also serves as chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and was previously the chair of the Jewish Federations of North America (as well as a past member of the board of 70 Faces Media, JTA’s parent organization). In its press release announcing the appointment, the White House hailed Wilf as “an unwavering advocate for the needs of the Jewish people.”

AWARDS FOR A PRIZEFIGHTER. Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather visited Israel this week, where he accepted two awards recognizing his support for the country. The 15-time world champion has been embraced by many Jewish groups, despite a troubling record of domestic violence. The Forward’s Louis Keene investigates.

LOOKING HOME. Cincinnati Reds assistant pitching coach Alon Leichman is the first Israeli to coach in the MLB. A veteran player and coach for Team Israel, Leichman hails from Kibbutz Gezer in central Israel, and this week he was spotted at Reds Spring Training wearing a shirt advocating for the release of the 100+ hostageswho remain captive in Gaza.

FLORIDA STAYS GOLDEN. The University of Florida agreed to a two-year contract extension with its men’s basketball coach, Todd Golden, that will keep the former Maccabi Haifa player with the Gators through the 2029-2030 season. Golden, currently in his second year with Florida, led the Gators to a 21-10 record this season.

Join us online for a Jewish MLB season preview

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The 2023 MLB season was a historic one for Jewish players — from Israel’s strong showing at the World Baseball Classic to a record-breaking group of Jewish big leaguers.

What does the 2024 season have in store?

On March 21, I’ll convene an All-Star panel of Jewish baseball experts to dive into the Jewish players and storylines to watch as Opening Day approaches.

I’ll be chatting with reporter Jonathan Mayo, former World Series champion and Olympian Ryan Lavarnway and Red Sox reporter Gabrielle Starr.

Sign up here for our free virtual event. See you Thursday night!

Jews in sports to watch this weekend (all times ET)


Harrison Bader and his new club, the New York Mets, take on Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros tomorrow at 6:05 p.m. On Sunday, Team Israel teammates Spencer Horwitz and Garrett Stubbs face off when their Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies, respectively, play at 1:05 p.m.


Deni Avdija and the Washington Wizards play the Chicago Bulls Saturday at 8 p.m. and host the Boston Celtics Sunday at 6 p.m. Domantas Sabonis, who is converting to Judaism, and his Sacramento Kings host the New York Knicks Saturday at 10 p.m. In the G League, Ryan Turell and the Motor City Cruise face the Wisconsin Herd tonight and tomorrow, both at 8 p.m, while Amari Bailey and the Greensboro Swarm play the Maine Celtics Sunday at 2 p.m.


Jack and Luke Hughes and the New Jersey Devils face the Arizona Coyotes Saturday at 5 p.m. The Coyotes traded Jason Zucker to the Nashville Predators ahead of last Friday’s trade deadline. The Predators play the Seattle Kraken Saturday at 10 p.m. Jordan Harris and the Montreal Canadiens play against the Calgary Flames Saturday at 7 p.m., and the red-hot Zach Hyman and his Edmonton Oilers host the Colorado Avalanche Saturday at 10 p.m. In the PWHL, Abbey Levy and New York face Minnesota Saturday at 3:30 p.m.; Kaleigh FratkinAerin Frankel and Boston host Ottawa at 6 p.m. Saturday; and Samantha Cogan and Toronto play Montreal at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.


Max Homa, David Lipsky and Ben Silverman are competing in The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida this weekend.


Matt Turner and Nottingham Forest host Luton Town Saturday at 11 a.m. in a high-stakes matchup. Turner’s squad has one more win than Luton Town, which is currently under threat of relegation. In the MLS, Daniel Edelman and the NY Red Bulls host Columbus Saturday at 7:30 p.m., while DeAndre Yedlin (who, along with Turner, also plays for the U.S. Men’s National Team) and Cincinnati host New England Sunday at 2 p.m.

A family affair

Who said the Hughes trio get to have all the brotherly fun? This week, Philadelphia Phillies catcher Garrett Stubbs and his younger brother, Houston Astros prospect C.J. Stubbs, faced each other in a Spring Training game — the first time they’ve played each other. The brothers Stubbs both played for Team Israel in last year’s WBC (C.J. replaced Garrett after an injury.)

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