Leon Klarfeld, Sam and Tiva Pelter, Dan Rothem and David Schenker are the inaugural inductees 

The Israel Association of Baseball inducted the inaugural class of the Israel Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday night at Kibbutz Gezer. Leon Klarfeld, Sam and Tiva Pelter, Dan Rothem and David Schenker are the worthy honorees for their contributions to the sport and its growth in the country. 

The IAB Hall of Fame Committee, headed by IAB Vice President Nathan Pomerantz along with Haim, Katz, Lee Siegel and Mel Levi, oversaw the nomination and voting process. A total of 14 individuals were submitted for consideration on the final ballot. The other individuals on the ballot were Larry Baras, Ami Cohen, Eliyahu Jackson, Randy and Leonard Kahn, Ephraim Keren, Shlomo Lipetz, Tap Logue and Bruce Maddy-Weitzman. 

Ballots were sent to a selection panel comprised of 32 veterans of Israeli baseball and the IAB, including the IAB Board of Directors. Members of the selection panel were allowed to vote for up to seven nominees. To be selected, a nominee needed to be named on a minimum of 60% of the ballots. 

After Pomerantz spoke to open the proceedings, the inductees were presented by someone close to them. IAB President Dr. Jordy Alter spoke for David Schenker; former IAB President Haim Katz presented Leon Klarfeld; Dan Rothem was introduced by his brother, Assaf; and Sam and the late Tiva Pelter by IAB board member Lee Siegel. 

David Schenker

David Schenker has been involved with Israeli baseball and the IAB for over three decades as a coach, umpire, National Director and member of the Board of Directors. He founded and coached the baseball program at Karnei Shomron and served as the coach for more than 10 national teams in different age groups. Schenker was appointed chief instructor for the IAB’s 2006-2007 coaching certification program at Kibbutz Seminary College. He has organized the baseball tournaments at the quadrennial Maccabiah Games. Today Schenker serves as the IAB’s co-Chief Umpire and regularly umps in the Premier League.  

Leon Klarfeld began coaching baseball in Tel Aviv in the mid-1980s and went on to serve as the President of the IAB, the National Director, and – for nearly two decades – was the IAB Chief Umpire. He was also the Director of Israel Operations for the IBL’s lone season in 2007. During his eight years as IAB president, Klarfeld brought the CEB Annual General Meeting and concurrent meeting of the European Softball Association to Eilat in February 2000. In his capacity as Chief Umpire, Klarfeld organized annual umpiring clinics that trained many of the umpires in Israel today and he also officiated in major tournaments in Israel and abroad. 

Dan Rothem

Dan Rothem has contributed and excelled as a player, coach, member of the IAB leadership, and as a broadcaster and popularizer of the sport to the Hebrew-speaking public. He was a member of Israel’s first-ever national team at the 1989 Little League World Series regional qualifying tournament. Rothem played college baseball in the United States and was a regular with the senior national team from 2004 through 2019. He was the player-coach of the Tel Aviv Comrades in the Premier League from 2005 through 2019. For the past nine years, he has been Sport 5’s go-to voice for Hebrew-language broadcasts of Major League Baseball and Israel national team games.  

Sam Pelter has been involved in nearly all facets of IAB activity, from coaching and umpiring to governance and representing the IAB in the international baseball community. Together with his wife Tivahe founded and coached the first baseball teams from Moshav Zofit with players from many surrounding moshavim joining. Sam served four terms as the IAB Secretary-General, was responsible for Israel’s admittance into the Confederation of European Baseball and was later voted to the CEB Board of Directors and eventually its Secretary-General, making him the highest-ranking Israeli official in European baseball. 

Sam Pelter 1

Tiva Pelter (nee Burshtein) was a life-long sportswoman, a graduate of Wingate and the founder of the Hapoel Kfar Sava women’s volleyball club. After she and her husband Sam built the baseball program in Moshav Zofit, Tiva began coaching the younger teams, was appointed Regional Director of the Sharon and was the chief administrator for several junior national teams that competed abroad. She organized the baseball coach certification program at Wingate. Tiva, of blessed memory, was coaching a Zofit practice in February 2002 when she suffered the aneurism that resulted in her untimely death at the age of 63.

These individuals will be formally enshrined at the national baseball stadium in Beit Shemesh, which is currently under construction and slated to be completed in 2023. 

Umpire Course  Square

The Israel Association of Baseball invites you to join its family of umpires by participating in the 2022 Umpire Course run by Wendelstedt Umpire School graduate and IAB chief umpire Daniel Wroblewski, and a team of certified international umpires.

The course is designed for those with at least a basic knowledge of baseball, who have quick reflexes, attention to detail, team spirit, and strong leadership skills, and who want to be involved in growing baseball in Israel.

Course participants must:
- Make a commitment to umpire at least twice a month
- Be at least 16 years old, though post-Army and adults are especially welcome

The three-week course starts Oct. 23 and is scheduled for 6 online/on-field sessions, Sundays and Tuesdays, from 7 to 10 p.m. The course is given in English.

The course is free – though graduates must commit to umpiring approximately twice a month. Those who successfully complete the course receive umpire accessories (clicker, ball bag and brush) and printed copy of the Rules of Baseball, and will be certified to umpire games at all levels.

If you are interested, send a message (along with your email and city) to Daniel Wroblewski at 054-433-4133 or

PL Tryouts 2022 Square

Come play baseball! We are announcing open tryouts for the 2022-23 IAB Premier League season.

Tryouts will take place on Thursday, September 15 at Ezra Schwartz Ballpark in Ra’anana and on Tuesday, September 20 at the Baptist Village field in Petah Tikva. Players need to only attend one tryout.

The fields will be available for practice sessions to prepare for the tryouts on Sunday, September 4 (Baptist Village), Thursday, September 8 (Ra’anana) and Sunday, September 11 (Baptist Village).

All players who want to try out must register and bring a valid sports medical test, which can be obtained at Mahon1.com.

Please note that Ezra Schwartz Ballpark has an artificial turf field and that metal spikes are not allowed.

The link for registration is: https://cmptweb.com/Ts_Fml_Login.aspx?cid=48322824

WBC 2023 Logo

The Israel Association of Baseball (IAB) is pleased to accept an invitation from Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association to participate in the next World Baseball Classic tournament. Israel will compete in Group D in Miami, Florida, alongside Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and a team from the qualifying tournament. The games will be played March 11-15. Four-time MLB All-Star and 2017 WBC champion Ian Kinsler will manage the team. 

After finishing sixth at the 2017 WBC and fifth at the 2020 Olympic Games, the IAB intends to recruit an even stronger team with the potential of including more than a dozen Jewish MLB players and hundreds of minor leaguers and independent league players who are eligible to play for Team Israel. 

“By opening the tournament in Miami, we hope to be able to recruit several top MLB players to play for Team Israel and some of them, including Harrison Bader, Kevin Pillar, Dean Kremer and Richard Bleier, have already stated their desire to play for us,” said Kinsler.

To be eligible to compete for Team Israel at the WBC, players must meet the requirements to make Aliyah - or receive Israeli citizenship, though they do not have to formally apply. Under Israel’s Law of Return, any person of Jewish heritage has the right to Israeli citizenship. Heritage is defined as having at least one Jewish grandparent. Additionally, any person who is married to a Jew is eligible. This rule opens the door for many potential players to compete for Team Israel.

“Ian has enthusiastically taken on the dialogue with the Major League players and I have no doubt those conversations will be fruitful,” Peter Kurz, General Manager of Team Israel said. “We are also getting many queries from outstanding young Jewish minor leaguers to play for Team Israel and we have the roster of Israeli players from the Olympics who are still active. We also have a strong contingent of native-born Israeli players who are now playing in American colleges and our domestic league, who will be eligible as well. There is a potential pool of hundreds of players to choose from.”

Kinsler, a World Series champion in 2018, became an Israeli citizen in the spring of 2020 and played for Team Israel at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. He will hold a press conference on July 17 during the Maccabiah Games in Israel to update the public on his recruiting efforts for the WBC team.  

Team Israel first entered the qualifying rounds for the 2013 World Baseball Classic and lost in extra innings against Spain in the fall of 2012 in Florida in the final game to reach the main draw. Four years later, Israel qualified by winning its tournament in Brooklyn and then made waves with wins over the Netherlands, Chinese Taipai and host South Korea to reach the quarterfinals before eventually placing sixth.

Several players from that team as well as new recruits helped Israel win the Africa/Europe Qualifying Event in Italy to reach the Olympic Games. There, led by former MLB players and new Israeli citizens Danny Valencia, Ryan Lavarnway, Ty Kelly, Josh Zeid, Jon Moscot, Zack Weiss and Jeremy Bleich, the boys in blue and white were knocking on the door of the medal round before placing fifth. Team Israel hopes to honor the spirit of that team and take Israel Baseball to new heights at the 2022 WBC. 

Ian Kinsler

Israeli Olympian and 2017 World Baseball Classic champion Ian Kinsler has been named the manager for the Team Israel squad at the 2023 WBC. Kinsler, 39, will begin his managerial career with the boys in blue-and-white, some of whom were his teammates at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. A four-time Major League Baseball All-Star and 2018 World Series champion, he received his Israeli citizenship in early 2020.

“I was very excited when I was asked to manage Team Israel at the WBC and it didn’t take long for me to accept the position. I enjoyed my time playing in the tournament and now that I know Israel Baseball well from my time in the Olympics, I am convinced that we will have a very competitive squad that will go far,” Kinsler said. “I can’t wait to visit Israel this summer and see the young talent that will be on display at the Maccabiah Games. We are already hard at work putting together a winner roster for Israel at the WBC and I look forward to making all of our fans proud.”

Kinsler will visit Israel in the coming weeks with his family to be present at the Maccabiah Games. He has been chosen as one of the five torchbearers at the opening ceremonies in Jerusalem on July 14 and will conduct baseball clinics for all the Maccabiah baseball players at Ezra Schwartz Ballpark in Ra’anana the following week. Kinsler will also throw out the opening pitch at one of the Maccabiah baseball games and meet with the media to discuss his plans for Team Israel at the WBC.

“Having Ian Kinsler as our manager provides us with a huge catalyst for recruiting top MLB players, as well as a manager who has a truly analytical approach to the game,” said Jordy Alter, the President of the Israel Association of Baseball. “Ian’s leadership of our Olympic team was crucial to our play in that competition and convincing him to now take on the managerial reigns is a further step in the development of the Israel Baseball program, following our second-place finish at the 2021 European championships.”

Kinsler brings with him WBC experience as a player. He was the starting second baseman and the leadoff hitter for Team USA at the 2017 edition when the Americans won the gold medal. He retired as an active MLB player in 2019 after 14 seasons in the Major Leagues. Kinsler will be the third man to manage Team Israel in the WBC. Brad Ausmus led the team at the 2012 WBC qualifiers and Jerry Weinstein guided Israel through the qualifiers in 2016 to a sixth-place finish at the final event in 2017.

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