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Local Israel football leagues gearing up to start 2016 gridiron season

American football in Israel is gearing up to start the 2016-17 season, with flag football preceding the flagship tackle league.

The AFI men’s flag football leagues are starting in two weeks’ time in the Jerusalem area.

Football is now the fifth-largest team sport in Israel, with 1,500 participants across the country, according to league officials. Israel has three national teams that compete on the world stage: the men’s tackle team, the men’s flag team and the women’s flag team. Tackle football and flag football are now played all across the country, at the youth and adult levels, as well as women’s flag football.

The Kraft Family Israel Football League will start the 10th season of tackle football in Israel on December 8, as the defending champion Judean Rebels take on local rivals the Jerusalem ‘Big Blue’ Lions. Also joining in the fun for this milestone season are the Be’er Sheva Black Swarm, the Mazkeret Batya Silverbacks, the Tel Aviv Pioneers, the Petah Tikva Troopers, the Ramat Hasharon Hammers and the Haifa Underdogs.

Information on joining any of the leagues/teams, including the league’s youth programs, is available at www.IFL.co.il.

NOTE: Picture by Rick Blumsack of Dani Eastman from last season’s Israel Bowl sent to Desk Tmunot on Tuesday morning, with copies sent to Day Editor and web desk.