When I was growing up in my Zionist youth movement, the question of where one's loyalties lie, Israel or England, was always an interesting issue. We summed it up with the simpel question: "If England was playing against Israel (we're talking football of course) - for whom would you cheer?"
Close to 9 years after I made Aliyah I can't give an honest, definitive answer to the question. The football that I love and that I watch is the English Premier League and I would no sooner change my team (Liverpool) then I would cheat on my wife; I know the players, and have cheered England on in every international competition that they've played in since "Ron's 22" took the field in Spain back in '82. It is something that I am particularly passionate about - anyone who has seen me either playing or watching a game will testify to that - I take on an entirely different personality (and it's not that pleasant either!)
In comparison, I would be hard pressed to recognise or even name the majority of Israel's team as I have never developed a passion for the local version of the beautiful game, only watching when there is nothing else on.
At the same time, Israel is my home, the place where I will live out my life; I love this country in a way that I don't come close to loving England.
For the meantime I can stay on the fence as the fates kept Israel and England apart once again. This evening however, the tens of thousands of Israelis who are French in origin will find themselves making their choice, a choice which I think will be of conflicting emotions and many will be surprised as to who they come out cheering for. Israel and France have played in the not too distant past when Israel prevented the French from reaching the World Cup in '94 - dare we hope for a similar result tonight? Come on!!!!!!!