“The least we can do is help strengthen the families” Israeli Legends come together for a special event

Dec 15, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

The Israel National Team Legends together with the Israel Basketball Association and the Israel Basketball League Administration held a special Hanukkah event at had Eliayhu that included a game with Special Olympics participants as well as a team from the Gaza Periphery.

Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


The team from the area around the Gaza Strip has two members of their squad who are being held hostage by Hamas, Alon Shamriz and Yotam Haim whose father spoke before tipoff, “One of the best medicines that there is is the game of basketball. Yotam started playing basketball from the age of 14 and was excited about every game. We want to embrace our son. My son always asked me when we would be able to sit in the first row at dad Eliyahu as we usually sit upstairs. Today I sit in the front row, but without him.”

The Israel legends team included stars such as Lior Eliyahu, Yotam Halperin, Doron Sheffer, Moran Roth, Amit Tamir, Arik Nissim and many others.

Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


At halftime of the game, Rabbi Gloiberman, Doron Sheffer and the families of the hostages lit the Chanukah at mid-court as the entire crowd gathered around them on the floor.

Lior Eliyahu was happy to be a part of the proceedings as well, “We are doing the little that we can to somehow contribute to the complex and problematic situation we have found ourselves in. We want to bring a smile to everyone and to those who still remember us we hope that the situation we are in will end soon.”

“It’s fun to meet up with all the players together, but really the goal is to make these people with us happy. Both those with disabilities and those who went through the hell they have been through on October 7th. Let’s hope for good news and that everything will be behind us.”

Lior Eliyahu – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


Doron Sheffer spoke about the event and its importance, “It is a privilege and the least we can do is to be here and be strong with the families and with the people of Israel. That really is what we need to do in acts of togetherness and in brotherhood. This is our strength and our calling and this is the light we need to bring. The people of Israel is a family that is much bigger than just the world of basketball, which is also a world in itself.”

Amit Tamir also talked about coming together for the special event, “I think this is a very, very special activity having the Legends team together with Special Olympics. It’s a very exciting and important game and that in itself is an important message to all of this as well. We have to put on a smile on our faces during these difficult times and keep living our lives. If there is an opportunity to put a smile on the people’s faces who are here and whose lives are a little more difficult and in particular those who have lost loved ones or are being hostage – we are here for that.”

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