The November 2013 TIB Newsletter

Dan Aronovic - Monday, January 27, 2014

Becky Kopilovich - University of San Francisco


SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco senior Rebecca Kopilovitch has been tapped as an Academic All-District VIII performer in the classroom, announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Selected to the first team, Kopilovitch is one of three West Coast Conference student-athletes honored, alongside players from USC, UNLV, Oregon State and Fresno State. District VIII is made up of the geographical region that includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Canada.

Kopilovitch maintains a 3.94 grade-point average in her studies in finance. Along with her stellar academic standing, the native of Israel is a high-level performer on the court. In her final season in Green and Gold, she leads the Dons with 338 digs, or 3.98 per set. Last season, Kopilovitch was recognized as the WCC's Co-Defensive Player of the Year.

"This a great testament for Becky's hard work on and off the court and her commitment for excellence in everything she does," said head coach Gilad Doron. "She knows how to set her goals and make the sacrifice needed to reach them.  She has been an inspiration on the court and model student and citizen of the University of San Francisco, and of course our volleyball program.  I am so proud and happy for her and I am certain she will continue her success beyond her years as a Don." 



 Laetitia Beck - Duke University

DURHAM, N.C. – In the final Golf World/WGCA Division I College Women’s Coaches’ Poll of the fall season, Duke moved up to No. 3 following four top-four finishes to open the 2013-14 campaign. 

Southern California remained the No. 1 squad receiving 19 first place votes, while UCLA, Duke, Alabama, Washington, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Arkansas and Stanford rounded out the top 10.  Clemson, Arizona, Pepperdine, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Florida, Oregon, N.C. State, Michigan State, Kentucky, Northwestern, Iowa State, LSU, North Carolina and Wake Forest closed the top 25.

In four tournaments this fall, Duke turned four top-four finishes, including a victory and a second place ledger.  At the Tar Heel Invitational, the Blue Devils carded rounds of 286, 282 and 289 to win by 11 strokes against a solid field, which featured four top 10 teams. 

Duke freshman Yu Liu competed in three tournaments this fall and collected a team-best 71.67 stroke average, along with three top-10 finishes.  Senior Laetitia Beck  (Caesarea, Israel) carded three top-10 finishes in four tournaments, while totaling a 71.75 stroke average to lead the way for the Blue Devils.


                  ABOUT ISRAELBRIDGE
Who We Are: 

Ross Greenstein, Scholarship for Athletes President and Founder of The Israel Bridge

Dan Aronovic, Head of Operations, The Israel Bridge

Our Vision: 
The Israel Bridge will work to be the largest resource for connecting and developing relationships between Israelis and Americans.

Current activities: 
Finding athletic scholarships for deserving Israeli athletes in the US. We have sent over 100 athletes to the following schools:  Ohio State, UCLA,  Northwestern, Duke, Maryland, UNLV, Arizona, Arizona State, Binghamton, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of San Francisco and many others.

Visit our website for more info:




 Tom Maayan, Seton Hall University


 Israeli Military Duty Stalls College Basketball Career

(FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES)  Written by Zach Schonbrun

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — "For months, Tom Maayan had been the focal point of an international tug of war, pitting the Israeli military against a major American university, while clouding what looked to be a bright basketball career. But when Maayan, a sophomore at Seton Hall, returned to the bustling campus here Aug. 16, after five months of army service in Upper Galilee, the northern Israeli province where he was raised, it was with a sense of relief.

He thought all that diplomatic jockeying was behind him. He believed that the army had granted him a temporary exemption, the kind bestowed on only a handful of exceptional athletes each year. He started at point guard in Seton Hall’s first game of the season, on Nov. 2.

But a winding and exhaustive ordeal was recently shaken off course again. According to an army spokesman, Maayan’s exemption was for only 120 days, and he was never officially permitted to leave Israel. The military expects him to return by Jan. 2."  READ MORE

The article above appeared in the New York Times on November 21st.  Instead of being a celebration of a top Israeli basketball player who is making a positive impact on college basketball, the article ended up questioning the reasons the Israeli military wouldn't let an athlete of this caliber defer his service and attend school on an athletic scholarship.  

So I would like to throw in my two cents as someone who has been helping Israeli athletes find scholarships over the past 10 years.  It is the obligation of all Israelis to come to an understanding with the Israeli army if and when they are drafted. The military will defer service for one or two athletes each year, but an official decision must be made by the head of the committee in the army that oversees athletes.  If you don't have an official release or deferment from the army, as an Israeli citizen you are in violation of the law if you leave the country. Period. If you decide to go to the US and play basketball anyway, you will not only be in trouble with the Israeli authorities, you end up losing a valuable scholarship for the college team.  This of course doesn't reflect well on the athlete, who knows that he/she just can't leave without making proper arrangements with the Israeli army but tries anyway.  This also happened last year with an Israeli athlete at a university in Hawaii. The school lost a valuable scholarship for a year because an Israeli athlete thought he could convince the army that he deserved a deferment after he started school. It just won't happen.

We talk to between 20 - 30 Israeli athletes each year, and the first question we ask is, "What about your army situation?"  If we are told that the athlete will figure that out later, we warn them that coaches need to know that your obligations have been met with the army before they offer any scholarship money.  Coaches do not like surprises after they have planned on having a certain player on their team and then find out they aren't coming.  

Rather than make the Israeli army culpable for Tom Maayan's missing the season, the article might also consider that it is the obligation of every Israeli to make arrangements with the military before accepting a scholarship.  If the army doesn't allow you to play basketball at 18, many Israeli basketball players have succeeded to play in college after their army service ended.  They end up going to school with more maturity and focus after 2 or 3 years in the army, and usually end up graduating in 4 years and not dropping out.  The majority of Israelis that went to school at the age of 18 with athletic scholarships never finished school in the US, because they simply weren't able to handle college life in the US without family support and the maturity and independence that comes from 3 years spent in the Israeli army.  

At The Israel Bridge we are dedicated to making the Israeli athletes experience in college a positive one, because we know that it will be a defining period of their lives.  Our definition of a positive experience is one that reflects well on the athlete, the school and the community.  

                           Dan Aronovic,  The Israel Bridge


                                     MAP OF ISRAELI STUDENTS IN US 



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