Connect with us


Team Israel is playing in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Here’s what to watch for.

(JTA) — The fifth edition of the World Baseball Classic is just days away, as players and fans across the globe prepare for two weeks of competition beginning on Wednesday.

Jewish fans may remember that Israel took the WBC by storm in 2017, winning four straight games as an underdog and advancing to the second round before being eliminated by Japan.

Team Israel is back for the 2023 WBC, with more current MLB talent on its roster than ever. It will also face its toughest competition yet.

First held in 2006, the WBC is a quadrennial World Cup-style international tournament that has exploded in popularity in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic postponed the event in 2021.

Ian Kinsler, Israel’s manager and a retired four-time MLB All-Star, is feeling good about his team’s chances. He played for Israel in the 2020 Olympics, and won the WBC with Team USA in 2017.

“In baseball, anything can happen,” Kinsler told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “This isn’t a five-game or seven-game series. This is one game [at a time], and if we can put together a really solid game, solid nine innings against these other teams, we have just as good a chance as anybody. I know the guys are fired up and ready to go and compete, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Read on for a guide to who’s starring on Team Israel, who the team will play and more on how the tournament works.

Join JTA’s Jewish Sport Report online and in Miami on March 9 for Jews on First: A Celebration at the World Baseball Classic. The panel conversation will feature ESPN’s Jeff Passan, former Team Israel player Jonathan de Marte and other Jewish baseball insiders. 

Who is playing this year, and how did they qualify?

The Dominican Republic plays Italy at Marlins Park on March 12, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The 2023 WBC will feature 20 teams — up from 16 in 2017 — split into four divisions (or pools) that will play in four venues: Tokyo, Phoenix, Miami and Taichung, a city of nearly 3 million in Taiwan.

Two teams from each of the four pools will advance to a single elimination bracket including quarterfinals, semifinals and a championship, all of which will be held in Miami. The first round runs from March 8 to 15, with the elimination round following immediately after. The championship game will be March 21.

Fans will not be surprised to see countries such as the United States, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela on the list — those three account for about 90% of MLB players. But there are a few less obvious countries that have qualified, including Israel.

Here are the four groups and where they will play the first round.

Pool A (Taichung): Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Cuba, Italy, Netherlands, Panama
Pool B (Tokyo): Australia, China, Czech Republic, Japan, South Korea
Pool C: (Phoenix): Canada, Colombia, Great Britain, Mexico, United States
Pool D (Miami): Dominican Republic, Israel, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Venezuela

The qualification rules have changed multiple times over the years. For this year’s tournament, all 16 teams from 2017 automatically qualified, including Israel. The final four teams (Great Britain, Czech Republic, Panama and Nicaragua) earned a spot through a 12-team, two-pool qualifying tournament last fall.

Who is on Team Israel?

Joc Pederson was an MLB All-Star in 2022. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Team Israel is arguably the best embodiment of the WBC’s unique eligibility rules. To play in the WBC, a player does not need to have been born in or be an official citizen of the country he is playing for (as is the case in the Olympics). Simply being eligible for citizenship in a given country is enough.

So any person eligible for Israeli citizenship can play for Team Israel. Under Israel’s Law of Return, anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent is eligible for citizenship, as are the children and spouses of Jews.

In practical terms, these rules have meant that Israel’s baseball team, at least in international competitions, has historically been composed of mostly American Jews. Native Israelis are still adopting the sport, which lags far behind soccer and basketball there in popularity. But Israel’s success on the international stage has helped raise the game’s profile.

The difference this time around is the wealth of professional talent on Team Israel’s roster. In fact, it boasts the most major league talent it has ever had: half of the roster has MLB experience.

The best-known players on Israel’s roster are All-Star outfielder Joc Pederson, who slugged 23 home runs and 70 runs batted in last year; American-Israeli pitcher Dean Kremer, who posted a stellar 3.23 earned run average as a starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles in 2022; and veteran reliever Richard Bleier, who had a 3.55 ERA for the Miami Marlins last season.

Big leaguers Scott Effross and Harrison Bader, both members of the New York Yankees, had planned to play for Israel but dropped out due to injuries. Outfielder Kevin Pillar was previously rumored to be on the team but did not appear on the final roster. (Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease, whose father is Jewish, was also on the team’s initial list of possible players.)

Here is the full 30-man roster, with their current playing level — Triple-A being the top rung of the minor leagues, Single-A being the lowest.

Starting pitchers: Brandon Gold (Triple-A), Colton Gordon (Single-A), Dean Kremer (Baltimore Orioles), Robert Stock (Triple-A)
Relief pitchers: Jake Bird (Colorado Rockies), Richard Bleier (Boston Red Sox), Daniel Federman (Single-A), Jake Fishman (Triple-A), Andrew Gross (Double-A), Rob Kaminsky (free agent), Evan Kravetz (Double-A), Kyle Molnar (free agent), Bubby Rosman (free agent), Jacob Steinmetz (Arizona Diamondbacks organization), Joey Wagman (free agent), Zack Weiss (Los Angeles Angels), Josh Wolf (Single-A)
Outfielders: Alex Dickerson (free agent), Jakob Goldfarb (free agent), Spencer Horwitz (Triple-A), Joc Pederson (San Francisco Giants)
Infielders: Zack Gelof (Triple-A), Ty Kelly (free agent), Assaf Lowengart (College of William & Mary), Noah Mendlinger (Single-A), Matt Mervis (Triple-A), Danny Valencia (retired from MLB), Michael Wielansky (free agent)
Catchers: Ryan Lavarnway (free agent), Garrett Stubbs (Philadelphia Phillies)

Teams can also add relievers if they advance past the first round. For Israel, those extras are: Jake Kalish (Triple-A), Alex Katz (free agent), Adam Kolarek (Los Angeles Dodgers organization), Jake Miednik (Single-A) and Israeli Shlomo Lipetz.

Israel’s big-league experience extends to its coaching staff, too. Along with Kinsler as manager, Israel will have former MLB and Team Israel manager Brad Ausmus and former All-Star Kevin Youkilis in the dugout, along with veteran coach Jerry Narron.

How has Israel fared previously?

Israel team players celebrate their victory against the Netherlands after their first round game of the World Baseball Classic in Seoul, March 9, 2017. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images)

This WBC will be Israel’s second. Israel was not part of the 2006 or 2009 tournaments, and though it did play in qualifying for 2013, it did not make the cut. Israel’s 2012 qualifying team included Ausmus as manager and a young Pederson in the outfield.

In 2017, Israel entered the tournament as underdogs after sweeping the qualifying tournament in September 2016. ESPN called the team “the Jamaican bobsled team of the WBC.”

With their trusty Mensch on the Bench mascot, Israel won its first four games, sweeping the first round, including a 2-1 victory over the host country of South Korea. Israel also defeated Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands, and they opened Round 2 by beating Cuba.

The proverbial Hanukkah oil seemed to run out there. Israel lost 12-2 to the Netherlands and 8-3 to Japan in the second round, ending its Cinderella run with a sixth-place tournament finish.

Catcher Ryan Lavarnway earned Pool A MVP honors, and pitcher Josh Zeid was named to the All-WBC team after the tournament.

In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, played in the summer of 2021 because of COVID-19, Israel finished in fifth place, beating Mexico 12-5 in its lone victory.

Who is Israel playing, and what should fans expect?

Members of Team Israel react with dismay as a player from the Dominican Republic hits a game-winning single to knock Israel’s baseball team out of competition in the Tokyo Olympics, Aug. 3, 2021. (Yuichi Masuda/Getty)

Israel is in Pool D, which features some of the world’s best teams.

Here is Israel’s WBC schedule (All times EST.).

Sunday, March 12 at 12 p.m.: Israel vs. Nicaragua
Monday, March 13 at 7 p.m.: Israel vs. Puerto Rico
Tuesday, March 14 at 7 p.m.: Israel vs. Dominican Republic
Wednesday, March 15 at 12 p.m.: Israel vs. Venezuela

Before the tournament, Israel will also play two exhibition games against MLB teams, part of MLB’s effort to raise awareness for the WBC. Israel will face the Miami Marlins on March 8 and the Washington Nationals on March 9;  the late Nationals owner Ted Lerner will be honored at the game.

Once the WBC begins for Israel on March 12, the team will face many of Major League Baseball’s top players, including Francisco Lindor and Edwin Diaz for Puerto Rico; Ronald Acuña Jr. and Jose Altuve for Venezuela; and a truly stacked Dominican team that features Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Rafael Devers and reigning National League Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara.

On paper, Israel is outmatched by its competition. But as Kinsler points out, “at the end of the day, baseball comes down to execution.” And if 2017 is any indication, opponents should never count Team Israel out.

The post Team Israel is playing in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Here’s what to watch for. appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


Comparing European, American, and French Roulette at Canadian online casinos

Roulette is the most popular table game at online and land-based casinos alike. You can easily find a seat at the table, place your bets, and hope that the wheel turns in your favour. But you have surely noticed that the roulette section is quite rich, featuring at least a dozen different tables. Most of them come with a different design and different rules. The most popular roulette variants are American Roulette, European, and French Roulette. In this article, we will try to explain the main differences between each one.

French VS European Roulette

We’ll first compare the French versus the European version of roulette since they are the most similar. The layout of the bets and the wheel is basically the same. Even the table layout is pretty much the same at most online casinos. Depending on the provider some differences can be found, like the layout of the table or the order of the numbers of the wheel. But as far as the odds and gameplay are concerned, European and French Roulette are basically the same. 

Both roulette variants have a single 0 on the board and the same number of slots on the wheel and numbers on the table. There are 36 additional numbers you can bet on, along with the standard Red or Black and Odd or Even bets. This means both games come with a house edge of 2.7%. So, the only difference comes from the introduction of two basic rules in French Roulette. 

  • La Partage
  • En Prison

La Partage

This rule applies to even money bets, and in case the ball lands on the 0 slot. The term comes from the French word which means to divide. All even money bets are divided into half, and the player gets one half, while the other half goes to the house. This rule works greatly in your favour, especially if you’re playing on higher bets. 

En Prison

The En Prison bet is also applied to even money bets and only when the ball lands on 0. Instead of counting as a loss, the bets are held on the table for the following spin, and if you win, you get your bet back. Even though you don’t actually win anything extra, the En Prison rule gives you a chance to get your money back without a loss. 

The introduction of these rules lowers the house edge on French Roulette down to 1.35%. This is why many players prefer the French version, as the odds are better for the player. 

French VS American Roulette

The main and pretty much only crucial difference between American and French roulette is the 00 and the layout of the slots on the wheel. The added 00 on the American version means that the house edge is higher. It climbs up to 5.26%, which is almost double the house edge on European Roulette and a massive difference from the 1.35% on the French version. 

Since there is an added 00 number, the layout of the slots on the wheel is different. On the table, the 00 is next to the 0, so it doesn’t make a big difference to the layout of the table. But the rules in American roulette are quite simple. If your number doesn’t come up, you lose the bet. There are no extra rules like in the French version. 


If you go by the odds alone, it turns out that the best roulette variant to play at Canadian online casinos is French roulette. But this doesn’t mean you will lose more when you play American or European Roulette. Many players prefer to play the American wheel as it’s faster and more exciting. With the right strategy and some luck on your side, you can easily make a profit on any type of roulette game. 

Continue Reading


Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism

niversity of California, Santa Barbara student body president Tessa Veksler on Feb. 26, 2024. Photo: Instagram

University of California, Santa Barbara student body president Tessa Veksler on Feb. 26, 2024. Photo: Instagram – “Never would I have imagined that I’d need to fight for my right to exist on campus,” laments Shabbos Kestenbaum, a student at Harvard University who is suing the school because “antisemitism is out of control.”

Jewish students have suffered an unrelenting explosion of hate on American higher education campuses—so far with little relief. They have endured antisemitic rhetoric, intimidation, cancellation and violence. But those charged with keeping campuses safe—whether administrators who govern student and faculty behavior or federal agencies responsible for ensuring that schools adhere to civil rights protections—are failing in their jobs.

Many Jewish students have complained to their colleges’ administrators about the injustices. But instead of responding with measures to ensure Jewish students’ safety—like stopping pro-Hamas protestors from hijacking campuses or expelling militants who incite Jew-hatred— administrators have largely shown indifference. In some cases, college authorities have made things worse for Jewish students by appeasing the riotous, pro-Hamas mobs who have been primary perpetrators of Jew-hatred on campus.

Snubbed by college administrators, Jewish students and their supporters have appealed for federal protection, filing Title VI complaints with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the body tasked with enforcing protections under the Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, the OCR, which has the power to levy severe financial punishments against colleges that neglect students’ Title VI rights, has so far rewarded negligent universities with little more than slaps on the wrist.

Until college and university boards of trustees begin hiring administrators committed to Jewish students’ safety—and until the OCR begins seriously punishing antisemitic perpetrators—we can expect no respite. Safe to say, colleges and universities run by arrogant, apathetic administrators will not change until their jobs and schools’ survival are threatened.

College/university administrators don’t take antisemitism seriously. Their reactions to Jewish students raising concerns about Jew-hatred range from indifference to outright hostility. For example, when Mohammed Al-Kurd, who the Anti-Defamation League says has a record of “unvarnished, vicious antisemitism,” came to speak at Harvard, Shabbos Kestenbaum and other Jewish students complained to administrators.

Rather than cancel Al-Kurd’s appearance, which would have been the appropriate action, the administrators ignored the students’ complaints. “Harvard’s silence was deafening,” Kestenbaum wrote in Newsweek. Kestenbaum said he “repeatedly” expressed concerns to administrators about the antisemitism he experienced, but as his lawsuit alleges, “evidence of uncontrolled discrimination and harassment fell on deaf ears.”

Administrators at Columbia University reacted to Jewish students’ complaints about antisemitism even more cynically. In fact, during an alumni event, several administrators exchanged text messages mocking Jewish students, calling them “privileged” and “difficult to listen to.”

When Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) asked the presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania if calling for genocide against Jews violated their schools’ codes of conduct, none could say “yes.” The presidents of Harvard and UPenn have since resigned. Good riddance.

Some college/university administrators have outrageously granted concessions to pro-Hamas students. For instance, Northwestern University agreed to contact potential employers of students who caused campus disruptions to insist they be hired, create a segregated dormitory hall exclusively for Middle Eastern, North African and Muslim students, and form a new investment committee in which anti-Zionists could wield undue influence. Brown University agreed to hold a referendum on divestment from Israel in October.

Similar appeasements were announced at other colleges and universities, including Rutgers, Johns Hopkins, the University of Minnesota and the University of California Riverside.

So far, OCR has failed to take concrete action against antisemitism on campus. This is evident in recent decisions involving the City University of New York (CUNY) and the University of Michigan. CUNY was ordered to conduct more investigations into Title VI complaints and report further developments to Washington, provide more employee and campus security officer training, and issue “climate surveys” to students.

The University of Michigan also committed to a “climate survey,” as well as to reviewing its case files for each report of discrimination covered by Title VI during the 2023-2024 school year and reporting to the OCR on its responses to reports of discrimination for the next two school years.

Neither institution was penalized financially, even though the Department of Education has the power to withhold federal funds, which most colleges and universities depend on. There are now 149 pending investigations into campus antisemitism at OCR. If these investigations yield toothless results similar to those of CUNY and Michigan, it is highly unlikely that colleges and universities will improve how they deal with antisemitism.

Putting an end to skyrocketing antisemitism on campus involves three things.

First, donors and governments at every level should withhold funds from colleges that fail to hire administrators who will take antisemitism as seriously as they take pronoun offenses or racism directed at people of color.

Second, the OCR must mete out serious consequences to Title VI violators in the form of funding cuts. This may require legislation that specifically mandates withdrawing funding from offending parties. A bill recently introduced by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.)—the University Accountability Act—may be ideal, as it is designed to financially penalize institutions that don’t crack down on antisemitism.

Third, if OCR won’t act, Jewish students and their supporters should turn to the courts. Lori Lowenthal Marcus, the legal director of the Deborah Project, a public-interest Jewish law firm, argues that the CUNY settlement demonstrates the futility of going to OCR and that going to court is more likely to produce “a clearly delineated and productive result,” such as punitive and compensatory fines. As of late May, at least 14 colleges and universities are facing lawsuits over their handling of antisemitism on campus since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

As long as college administrators are allowed to ignore antisemitism on campus and as long as OCR and other government institutions fall short in punishing Jew-hatred, antisemitism will continue to plague Jewish students.

The post Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism first appeared on

Continue Reading


Candace Owens Claims US ‘Being Held Hostage by Israel,’ Suggests Zionists Killed JFK

Candace Owens speaks at CPAC on March 2, 2023. Photo: Lev Radin via Reuters Connect

Political commentator Candace Owens claimed on Friday that the US is being held “hostage” by Israel and suggested that AIPAC, the foremost pro-Israel lobbying organization in the US, was behind the assassination of former US President John F. Kennedy.
“It seems like our country is being held hostage by Israel,” Owens, a right-wing provocateur, said during the opening segment of her YouTube show, where she interviewed far-left commentator Briahna Joy Gray.
“I’m going to get in so much trouble for that. I don’t care,” Owens lamented.
Gray, who was the guest for this episode, was recently fired from The Hill‘s TV show, Rising, after aggressively cutting off and rolling her eyes at the sister of an Israeli hostage who said that Hamas sexually assaulted women during the terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel and that people should believe those women. Gray, who claimed her firing was politically motivated, had repeatedly cast doubt on the sexual violence perpetrated against Israeli women during the Hamas-led onslaught.
However, Owens said that part of the reasons she was addressing the subject was that people were being fired because they were “not happy … when an innocent Palestinian kid dies” or for “critiquing a foreign nation.”
Also on Friday’s show, Owens claimed US Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) was “wading into some dangerous waters” when, during an interview with host Tucker Carlson, he spoke about how effective the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is at lobbying members of Congress and suggested the group should have to register as a foreign agent that is acting on behalf of Israel.
The reason it was dangerous, Owens said, was because “we know there was once a president that wanted to make AIPAC register, and he ended up shot … so Thomas Massie better be careful.”
Owens was referencing the fact that Kennedy wanted the American Zionist Council, a lobby group, to register as a foreign agent. However, there is no evidence the group had anything to do with Kennedy’s assassination.
Owens and The Daily Wire, which was co-founded by conservative and Jewish political commentator Ben Shapiro, parted ways after Owens flirted with antisemitic conspiracy theories for a number of months, especially following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.
“In all communities there are gangs. In the black community we’ve got the Bloods, we’ve got the Crips. Well, imagine if the Bloods and the Crips were doing horrific things, murdering people, controlling people with blackmail, and then every time a person spoke out about it, the Bloods and the Crips would call those people racist,” Owens said while still at The Daily Wire. “What if that is what is happening right now in Hollywood if there is just a very small ring of specific people who are using the fact that they are Jewish to shield themselves from any criticism. It’s food for thought, right? … this appears to be something that is quite sinister.”
Additionally, after getting into a spat with an outspoken and controversial rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, she said, “Are you going to kill me? Are you going to kill me, because I refuse to kowtow to you, and I think it’s weird that you and your daughter are promoting and selling sex toys, that’s why I deem you an ‘unholy rabbi?’”
“You gross me out. You disgust me. I am a better person than you, and I do not fear you,” Owens continued.
The list of controversial incidents involving Owens continued to grow longer with time. In one case, she “liked” an X/Twitter post that promoted the antisemitic “blood libel.” The post read, in response to Boteach, “Rabbi, are you drunk on Christian blood again?”
The “blood libel” is a medieval anti-Jewish slur which falsely claims that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children in their religious rituals.

The post Candace Owens Claims US ‘Being Held Hostage by Israel,’ Suggests Zionists Killed JFK first appeared on

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News