Bet-Ha'levi, Jerry 'the dwarf'
Bet Halevi was one of Israel's most celebrated soccer coaches, but his greatest contribution to Israeli soccer may have happened during his tenure as the chairman of Maccabi Tel Aviv when he modernized Israeli soccer. Jerry moved the team from their relatively primitive early venue to its current residence in Bloomfield Stadium, and he was the first Israeli chairman to actually make money for his team by eliminating the gate-crashing problem. Further more, Bet-Ha'levi pioneered the modern wage system in Israeli soccer, and under his tutelage Tel Aviv became one of the best squads in Asia.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. 1912 - d. Feb. 1997
Bet-Ha'levi joined Maccabi Tel Aviv in 1927 along with brother, Abraham. He then won three championships and two cups as captain of the team, and earned an appearance on the national side in 1938 alongside his brother.
Appointed as the successor of Egon Pollack who retired in 1947, Bet-Ha'levi built Maccabi into, arguably, the best side in the club's history. Players like Eli Fuchs, Itzhak Shnior and Shea Glazer dominated the local scene in the 1950s and won the championship from 1950-52 and a League and Cup "double" in 1954.
Ha'levi briefly left Maccabi for city rivals Hapoel Tel Aviv before returning and clinching another title for Maccabi in 1956. He was then unceremoniously fired by the club. From 1953 onward, Jerry also served as National Team Coach. During his tenure Israel was famed for its defensive style and became known nationwide as "Jerry's bunker." Bet-Ha'levi then served as the Nigerian National Coach from 1960-62.
After much begging and pleading he agreed to return home to Maccabi. He raised the next great generation of players for the club including Giora Shpigel. That team won the 1964 and 1965 Cups before Jery retired from coaching. Bet-Ha'levi chaired Maccabi from 1967. During this period Maccabi won three championships (1968, 1970, 1972) one Cup and his crowning acheivement, two Asian Cups in 1969 and 1971.
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