History and Government Faculty Publications

Hapoel Tel Aviv vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv: A Microcosm of the Arab- Israeli Conflict and Peace Process

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Derby matches encompass a fierce rivalry between two teams that sometimes have far-reaching consequences both on and off the field of play. In some cases, these derby matches can even exacerbate existing political, social, religious and economic tensions within a small geographic area. The rivalry between Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Tel Aviv fulfils these criteria in a definition of a ‘true’ derby and serves as a microcosm of Israeli political and religious debates. Thankfully, the consternation on the pitch and stands is satiated in largely peaceful ways through the ballot box.

This chapter utilises a psychocultural framework and examines the religious and social interplay between Arabs and Jews as showcased through the Tel Aviv derby. The Tel Aviv derby features Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Tel Aviv often locked in a struggle for the Israeli Premier League championship. This chapter investigates the roots of the Tel Aviv derby, situates it among other rivalries globally, investigates fans and players alike within the rivalry at the Bloomfield Stadium where both teams play their home matches and further discusses its implications for Israeli politics and football.


Israel, Arabic, Tel Aviv, derby, rivalry, politics, religion


In Danyel Reiche and Paul Brannagan (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Sport in the Middle East. New York: Routledge, 2022.