Vote for Jewish sports star of 2016!

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Vote for Jewish sports star of 2016!

Your chance to help crown the top athlete of the year.

Andrew Sherwood is the Jewish News Sport and Community Editor

Ori Sasson and Yarden Gerbi are among two of our nominees who have made our shortlist for sportsperson of the year
Ori Sasson and Yarden Gerbi are among two of our nominees who have made our shortlist for sportsperson of the year

With the end of the year fast approaching we want to know your top Jewish sportsperson of 2016.

Read details of our ten nominees and then cast your vote in our poll at the bottom of the page.

The main event of the sporting year was the Olympic Games, so it’s no surprise that half of our nominees competed in Rio.

Israel’s first medal of the Games saw Yarden Gerbi become the first Israeli women to win an Olympic medal in 24 years. Dedicating her judo bronze to “everyone in Israel”, she said: “Whoever said you can’t succeed in Israel, is wrong.”

Israel’s first medal of the Games arrived in Judo when Yarden Gerbi beat Japan’s Miku Tashiro to win bronze in the 63kg event. Becoming the first Israeli women to win an Olympic medal in 24 years, she dedicated her win to “everyone in Israel”, saying: “The medal is for all of Israel, for everyone who supported me and cheered me on. I gave my soul and it paid off. Whoever said you can’t succeed in Israel, is wrong.”

Ori Sasson made headlines, both on and off the judo mat, when he won Israel’s second medal of the Games. His route to beating Alex Garcia Mendoza to win bronze in the 100+kg event, saw him beat Islam El Shehaby, though the beaten Egyptian refused to shake his Sasson’s hand, which caused world-wide headlines and the Egyptian Olympic Association sending him home. Speaking about his win, he said: “My dream came true in front of my eyes. I have worked so hard for this. I’ve had so many wins and so many losses and today was my day. I defeated all my fears. I felt it was going to happen. I worked so hard. I am so happy for the Israel, for myself, and for my family. Today I was a warrior.”

History was made in the swimming pool in Brazil when Anthony Ervin became the oldest ever Olympic swimming champion at the age of 35. Winning the 50m freestyle – the same event he won joint-gold in 2000, he quit the sport, during which time he attempted suicide, worked in a tattoo parlour, played in a rock band and sold his gold medal to donate the money to Tsunami victims. Speaking after his latest win, he said: “It’s surreal, it’s almost absurd I was able to do it again.”

Another American who was among the medals was gymnast Aly Raisman. Winning three medals – gold in the Team event – which she captained – and silver in both the Floor Exercise and All-Around and events, the latter of which she said: “To get a standing ovation so it was very emotional. This was the best arena and atmosphere I’ve ever been in. It was just incredible and was a moment I will never forget.”

Inbal Pezaro cemented her status as being one of Israel’s greatest ever Paralympians after winning three medals in Rio. Having won three medals in the previous two Paralympics, she reached the final in all five of her individual events.

Away from the Olympics, Barak Bakhar has taken the Israeli football scene by storm, delivering Hapoel Be’erSheva their first league title in 40 years. In their first European campaign, he was a missed penalty away from guiding them into this season’s Champions League group stage, beating Olympiakos and Celtic along the way, and they have now qualified for the last 32 of the Europa League, drawing 1-1 at Southampton to knock out the Premier League side.

On the pitch, Eran Zahavi set a new Israeli record for league goals scored in a season – scoring 35 goals in 36 league games for Maccabi Tel Aviv. His eye-catching form was spotted by Chinese side Guangzhou R&F, who then paid a record transfer sum for an Israeli footballer, signing him for £10 million in August. The midfielder scored on his debut, and currently has 12 goals in 11 games.

Closer to home, Scott Kashket has enjoyed a tremendous first half of the football season at Wycombe Wanderers, helping them to a play-off spot in League Two. Beginning the season at Leyton Orient, he moved to Buckinghamshire, joining fellow Jewish footballer Joe Jacobson, and has been an instant hit. Initially on trial, the 20-year-old recently signed a three-year deal with the club and has so far scored 11 goals in 12 appearances, including an FA Cup hat-trick against Chesterfield earlier this month. Telling Jewish News how he’s “very happy” at Wycombe, he was even more delighted with his hat-trick, saying: “It’s something growing up I’ve dreamt about – and now I’ve been lucky enough to do it in the FA Cup. Walking away with the match ball was brilliant, it was an amazing feeling.”

Israeli tennis is currently going through a baron spell. Gone are the days of Shahar Peer commanding a top-10 place in the rankings, with the glory days of doubles duo Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich firmly confined to the history books. However, there is hope in youngster Yishai Oliel, who saw his growing reputation continue to blossom when he landed the junior double title at this year’s French Open. His coach Jan Pochter believes he can make it at the top end of the game, saying: “I think he needs to get stronger physically and mentally and to improve all parts of his game. If he does, he has a chance to become a very good player. We look forward to him playing on the professional level. I think he can do it.”

Hannah Knyazyeva-Minenko leapt into the record books this year by becoming the first Israeli female to win a medal at the European Athletic Championships. Winning silver in the triple jump event, she also matched the best ever finish for an Israeli in an Olympic athlete competition when she claimed a fifth-place finish. Still only 26, the Ukrainian-born star is earmarked for future success and already a medal hope for the 2020 Olympics.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: