The Israeli football league system has six levels and 16 different divisions, all run by the IFA. Promotion and relegation operates between each level, theoretically allowing clubs to progress from bottom to top within six seasons.
|UEFA Champions League||Premier League champions|
|UEFA Cup||Clubs finishing 2nd or 3rd or 4th in Premier League||If the third-placed club has already qualified for Europe through the State Cup, then the next-highest Premier League finishers get this place|
|State Cup winners|
|Any Israeli club that wins the UEFA Cup and has not already qualified for the Champions League or UEFA Cup||By the UEFA Cup regulations (Regulation 1.07), this club's entry into the UEFA Cup will not be at the expense of any other entries to which its national federation is entitled|
|UEFA Intertoto Cup||Club finishing highest in the Premier League to have entered and not qualified for any other European competition|
In addition, once in a European competition, it becomes possible to qualify for others:
The Israel national football team played their very first international football match in Cairo, against Egypt in 1934 as Palestine/Eretz Yisrael. Their greatest triumph to date was qualifying for the World Cup in 1970.
In February 1928, the first ever derby took place in the British Mandate between Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Allenby Tel Aviv. Maccabi won 3-0 and was the start to the oldest rivalry that takes place today, in modern day Israel.
When a cup competition was formed, British teams dominated until 26 May 1928 when two Jewish clubs made it to the final in Jerusalem. Hapoel Allenby Tel Aviv beat Maccabi HaShmonai Jerusalem by a score of 2-0, but the cup was shared since Maccabi alleged to British officials that Hapoel had fielded an ineligible player.
Nine teams started the first league in 1932. The first winner of the league were the British Police who, under the guidance of Police Chief Speiser, were the best organised club in the country. Later he would serve as the first chairman of the football association.
During the mandate period, the international team competed under the title of Palestine, despite operating as a virtually all-Jewish organisation. The first international match was a qualifying match for the 1934 World Cup qualifier between Palestine and Egypt in Cairo, which resulted in a 7-1 defeat. The second leg, played in Tel Aviv, resulted in a 4-1 defeat and an 11-2 aggregate loss. Earlier, in 1931 a mixed team of Palestinian Jews and British played an international.
One of the first big tours of the international team was to Australia on the eve of World War II. The team was composed of players from both Hapoel and Maccabi organizations. Three players eventually ended up staying in Australia, two of those (Avraham Beit Halevi, and Menahem Marimovich) died while serving in the Australian army in attacks against the Japanese.
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