Since the Eretz Israel Football Association was founded in 1928, it has organised a nationwide knockout cup competition almost every football season. This cup was originally held in Mandatory Palestine and named the People's Cup, but when Israel became independent in 1948, the tournament was renamed the Israel State Cup. "Eretz" was dropped from the association's name at the same time. The present cup holders are Hapoel Haifa who beat Beitar Jerusalem 3-1 in Teddy Stadium at the 2018 final game.
Scheduling was initially inconsistent, but the State Cup has been a regular fixture in the Israeli football calendar since the start of the 1961–62 football season. It involves professional and amateur clubs of all standards playing against each other, creating the possibility for "minnows" to become "giant-killers" by eliminating top clubs from the tournament. Five teams have reached the final while playing in a lower division, but all have been defeated apart from Hapoel Ramat Gan, who won the cup final while a second-tier club in 2003. British police and military teams took part in large numbers during the Mandate Period, and one, British Police, won the competition in 1932. Bnei Sakhnin, the 2004 final victors, are the only side from a mostly Arab-Israeli town to have lifted the cup.
Maccabi Tel Aviv have a record 23 cup titles, followed by Hapoel Tel Aviv, who have 15, including two unmatched runs of three in a row (1937 to 1939, and 2010 to 2012). The sustained good performance of Beitar Jerusalem, the next most successful team in terms of State Cup wins with seven, is a relatively recent occurrence compared to the two major Tel Aviv clubs: Maccabi and Hapoel Tel Aviv have been consistently successful throughout the cup's history, but Beitar Jerusalem only reached their first finals in the 1970s. Hapoel Kfar Saba are presently the only club with more than one final appearance to hold an undefeated record in these matches, having won the cup final three times, every time they have reached it. By contrast, three-time finalists Shimshon Tel Aviv have yet to lift the trophy. The most decisive cup final victory was in 1942, when Beitar Tel Aviv beat Maccabi Haifa 12–1.
|Winners also won the National League Championship during the same season.|
|Winners also won the League Cup during the same season.|
|Winners also won both the League and League Cup during the same season.|
|Team was playing outside the top division of the national league.|
|Denotes a team of British servicemen.|
|(aet)||After extra time|
|(number of cup wins)||A running tally of the total number of cup titles won by each club is kept in brackets.|
1922–27: Unofficial National Cups
Starting in 1922, unofficial cup competitions were held in Mandatory Palestine on an annual, national basis under the sponsorship of Britain's military garrison there. The first national cup title was won by Lancashire Troop Haifa, and the following year a team representing the Royal Air Force detachment at Ramla won the final. The next four editions of this competition were won by a Royal Air Force team drawn from across the Mandate, which beat the Ramla side in the 1927 decider. As these cups pre-date the existence of a national football association, they are not considered official by the Israel Football Association. Between 1923 and 1927 there was also a national cup organised by the Maccabi organisation, the Magen Shimshon, but this only included Maccabi clubs.
1928–47: People's Cup
The Eretz Israel Football Association was founded in August 1928, and the first officially sanctioned national tournament was held the same year as the "People's Cup". The first People's Cup final ended with Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Hasmonean Jerusalem sharing the trophy following an incident involving an ineligible Hapoel player.[nb 1] Tel Aviv clubs dominated the cup during this period, with Beitar, Hapoel and Maccabi Tel Aviv winning all but two of the annual competitions. The Jerusalem-based British Police side won in 1932 and Maccabi Petah Tikva lifted the cup three years later. During this period Hapoel Tel Aviv won three cup titles in a row between 1937 and 1939, which remains a record to this day. At the end of the Mandate period, Maccabi Tel Aviv were the most successful team in the national cup, with six final wins; their city rivals Hapoel followed with five. The People's Cup trophy was stolen at the end of the chaotic 1947 final and has never been recovered.[nb 2]
|1928||Hapoel Tel Aviv (1) and
Maccabi Hasmonean Jerusalem (1)
|1929||Maccabi Tel Aviv (1)||4–0||Maccabi Hasmonean Jerusalem|
|1930||Maccabi Tel Aviv (2)||2–1||Northamptonshire Regiment|
|1932||British Police (1)||Walkover[nb 3]||Hapoel Haifa|
|1933||Maccabi Tel Aviv (3)||1–0||Hapoel Tel Aviv|
|1934||Hapoel Tel Aviv (2)||3–2||Maccabi Tel Aviv|
|1935||Maccabi Petah Tikva (1)||1–0||Hakoah Tel Aviv|
|1937||Hapoel Tel Aviv (3)||3–0||Hapoel HaDarom Tel Aviv|
|1938||Hapoel Tel Aviv (4)||2–1||Maccabi Tel Aviv|
|1939||Hapoel Tel Aviv (5)||2–1||Maccabi Petah Tikva|
|1940||Beitar Tel Aviv (1)||3–1||Maccabi Tel Aviv|
|1941||Maccabi Tel Aviv (4)||2–1||Hapoel Tel Aviv|
|1942||Beitar Tel Aviv (2)||12–1||Maccabi Haifa|
|1946||Maccabi Tel Aviv (5)||3–1 / 3–0||Hapoel Rishon LeZion|
|1947||Maccabi Tel Aviv (6)||3–0[nb 2]||Beitar Tel Aviv|
1943–45: Unofficial "War Cup"
In the 1943 and 1944–45 seasons, during the Second World War, a version of the competition called the "War Cup" was held which was not considered official by the Israel Football Association. Despite this, the People's Cup trophy was awarded after the 1943 final to the victorious team of British artillerymen, Gunners. The 1944–45 War Cup was controversial both at its beginning and at its end—it was boycotted from the start by clubs of the Beitar organisation and its final match, held on 13 January 1945, was abandoned. With Hapoel Tel Aviv leading Hapoel Petah Tikva 1–0 with one minute remaining, one of the Hapoel Petah Tikva players began targeting the referee with abusive and obscene language. The official sent the offending player off, but he vehemently refused to leave the pitch, causing significant disruption. The referee abandoned the match and declared the 1–0 scoreline final. Nowadays, the IFA recognize these cup editions as part of the competition's history.
|1944||Hapoel Tel Aviv||1–0||Hapoel Petah Tikva|
1948–present: Israel State Cup
With the termination of the British Mandate and the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948, the association dropped "Eretz" from its name, renamed its cup competition the Israel State Cup and commissioned a new trophy. The scheduling of the cup was initially sporadic, and several editions took well over a year to complete—over the 15 seasons between 1951–52 and 1964–65 only 11 competitions took place. Two clubs from Haifa, Hapoel and Maccabi, won their first cup finals in successive years, starting with Maccabi Haifa in 1963. Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv first lifted the trophy in 1968, and Hakoah Ramat Gan did the same a year later. Maccabi Tel Aviv lifted the cup three times during the 1960s, and brought their overall tally to 14 with a further final win in 1970.
Bnei Yehuda became the first club from outside the top division to reach the final in 1978, but they were unable to overcome league champions Maccabi Netanya, who lifted the cup for the first time with this victory. Three more teams won their first cup titles during the 1970s: Hapoel Kfar Saba, and Beitar and Hapoel Jerusalem. Two small-town clubs, Hapoel Yehud and Hapoel Lod, won the cup for the first time in 1982 and 1984 respectively, but otherwise the 1980s cup finals were the domain of sides from the cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Maccabi Haifa won four cup finals during the 1990s, while Maccabi Tel Aviv won two, bringing their total to 19 by the year 2000. Hapoel Be'er Sheva's cup final victory in 1997 was their first.
The 21st century began with two more cup titles for Maccabi Tel Aviv, before two seasons in a row saw respective firsts for the Israel State Cup. In 2003 Hapoel Ramat Gan became the first side to win the cup final from outside the top division, and a year later Bnei Sakhnin became the first club from a mostly Arab-Israeli town to lift the trophy. Three more second-tier clubs, Hapoel Haifa, Maccabi Herzliya and Hapoel Ashkelon, reached the final in 2004, 2005 and 2007 respectively, but none of these won the deciding match. Following Bnei Sakhnin's victory teams from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv reclaimed dominance—Maccabi Tel Aviv lifted the cup in 2005, Beitar Jerusalem won two titles in a row in 2008 and 2009 and Hapoel Tel Aviv twice in a row in 2006 and 2007, and then three times consecutively from 2010 to 2012. Hapoel Ramat Gan won the cup for the second time in 2013, this time as a top-flight club. On May 9, 2018, Hapoel Haifa won the cup, proving once and for all that Haifa is red.
Excluding unofficial competitions, 20 clubs have won the Israel State Cup. Twenty-five have been runners-up, and of these 11 are yet to win a cup final.
Six of the 20 cup-winning clubs have never lost the competition's deciding game, but only two of these have played in more than one final. Hapoel Kfar Saba have won all three finals in which they have appeared, while Hapoel Ramat Gan have appeared in two finals and won them both.
By contrast, Shimshon Tel Aviv have lost the cup final three times, every time they have played in it.
Maccabi Tel Aviv has won the trophy 23 times, being the most successful club in the competition; however, despite this success they are still disliked by most Israelis.
Performance by club
Total cup wins by city
The 20 Israel State Cup-winning sides have come from 12 cities. The most successful home city by some distance is Tel Aviv; clubs from this city have won four times as many cup titles as the next most successful in this regard, Jerusalem.
|Tel Aviv||43||Maccabi Tel Aviv (23), Hapoel Tel Aviv (16), Beitar Tel Aviv (2), Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv (2)|
|Haifa||11||Maccabi Haifa (6), Hapoel Haifa (4), Gunners (1)|
|Jerusalem||10||Beitar Jerusalem (7), Hapoel Jerusalem (1), Maccabi Hasmonean Jerusalem (1), British Police (1)|
|Petah Tikva||4||Hapoel Petah Tikva (2), Maccabi Petah Tikva (2)|
|Ramat Gan||4||Hakoah Ramat Gan (2), Hapoel Ramat Gan (2)|
|Kfar Saba||3||Hapoel Kfar Saba (3)|
|Beersheba||1||Hapoel Be'er Sheva (1)|
|Sakhnin||1||Bnei Sakhnin (1)|
|Yehud||1||Hapoel Yehud (1)|
|Lod||1||Hapoel Lod (1)|
|Netanya||1||Maccabi Netanya (1)|
|Kiryat Shmona||1||Ironi Kiryat Shmona (1)|
Total cup wins by district
There have been 20 winners of the Israel State Cup, from six districts. Tel Aviv District is the most successful, with over four times as many cup wins as the next most successful district, Jerusalem. Judea and Samaria is the only district that has yet to produce a cup-winning side.
|Tel Aviv||46||Maccabi Tel Aviv (23), Hapoel Tel Aviv (15), Beitar Tel Aviv (2), Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv (2), Hakoah Ramat Gan (2), Hapoel Ramat Gan (2)|
|Haifa||11||Maccabi Haifa (6), Hapoel Haifa (4), Gunners (1)|
|Jerusalem||10||Beitar Jerusalem (7), Hapoel Jerusalem (1), Maccabi Hasmonean Jerusalem (1), British Police (1)|
|Center||10||Hapoel Kfar Saba (3), Hapoel Petah Tikva (2), Maccabi Petah Tikva (2), Hapoel Lod (1), Hapoel Yehud (1), Maccabi Netanya (1)|
|North||2||Bnei Sakhnin (1), Ironi Kiryat Shmona (1)|
|South||1||Hapoel Be'er Sheva (1)|
- The 1928 final finished 2–0 to Hapoel Tel Aviv, but afterwards it was discovered by Eretz Israel Football Association (IFA) authorities that an ineligible player had been fielded by Hapoel. The cup was shared by Hapoel and Maccabi Hasmonean Jerusalem, the defeated finalists, first spending six months in Tel Aviv, then the same amount of time in Jerusalem.
- With Maccabi Tel Aviv 3–2 ahead of their city rivals Beitar in the 1947 final, Beitar had an apparent equalising goal disallowed by the referee with two minutes left on the clock. A violent pitch invasion took place, and in the confusion Beitar player Yom-Tov Mensharov stole the cup and escaped the stadium with it, undetected by authorities. He then somehow lost the trophy himself in unclear circumstances. What was certain was that the cup was gone and that the final could not go on. The IFA awarded Maccabi a 3–0 victory, and promised to present them with the cup when it was found. However, this pledge has so far proved futile as the trophy has never been recovered. A replacement was commissioned by the IFA when the Israel State Cup came into being after independence in 1948. The original cup was reportedly photographed intact in Petah Tikva in 1992, but its present whereabouts are unknown.
- The 1932 final was abandoned with the score 1–0 to Hapoel Haifa, when the Haifa club's players walked off the field in protest at a penalty kick awarded to British Police. The police were awarded the cup by walkover.
- The competition started during the 1948–49, in Spring 1949, but was delayed due to appeals over quarter-final matches. The appeals were left standing until January 1951, when the competition resumed with a quarter-final match between Maccabi Petah Tikva and Hapoel Tel Aviv. Three further matches were played during February 1951, but no more matches were played and the tournament was abandoned at the end of the 1950-51 football season.
- The 1953–54 Israel State Cup began on March 1953 and the competition was carried over to the next season.
- The competition started on 22 January 1955 and was carried over to the next season
- The competition started on 11 February 1956 and was carried over to the next season
- The competition started on 12 October 1957 and was carried over to the next season
- The competition started on 6 December 1958 and was carried over to the next season
- The competition started on 30 February 1960 and was carried over to the next season
- The competition started on 12 February 1961 and was carried over to the next season
- The competition started on 24 March 1962 and was carried over to the next season
- The competition started on 21 September 1963 and was carried over to the next season
- The competition started on 17 September 1966 and was carried over to the next season
- The competition started on 20 September 1969 and was carried over to the next season due to the national team participation in the 1970 FIFA World Cup.
- The competition started during the 1971–72 season and was carried over to the next season
- Finalists and results sourced to: "List of Cup winners" (in Hebrew). Israel Football Association. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Israel Football Association, Bleicher (2011).
- Wohlgelernter, Elli (30 April 1998). "One day that shook the world". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Wolf, Nir (15 March 2009). "Who will be the State Cup Cinderella?". Haaretz (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
- Ben-Chanah, A. (7 July 1957). "The story of the Israeli football cup". Davar (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv: Histadrut. p. 3. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Round, Simon (11 February 2010). "Conflict or world peace? How football is a game of two halves". The Jewish Chronicle. London. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
- "Israeli Arabs win first soccer cup". London: BBC. 19 May 2004. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
A football team from an Arab town has won Israel's main football cup for the first time in the country's history ... But the team, which was promoted to the first division last season, is seen as a model of Arab-Jewish harmony. It has 12 Arab, seven Jewish and four foreign players, as well as a Jewish coach.
- Bleicher (2011).
- Goldberg, Asher (28 October 2010). "Football During the British Mandate". Israeli Football Association. Archived from the original on 20 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Kaufmann, Haim (2006). "The Beginnings of Hebrew Football In Eretz Israel". BeTnu'aa. 8 (1–2). Retrieved 28 November 2015.
- Goldberg, Asher; Davorin, Danny (2006). Maccabi Tel Aviv – the first 100 years (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv: Media Publishing. p. 83. ISBN 965-555-237-3.
- Kaufman, Haim; Galily, Yair (January 2008). "The early development of Hebrew football in Eretz Israel, 1910–1928" (PDF). Soccer & Society. Israel Football Association. 9 (1): 11. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 May 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "History". Maccabi Tel Aviv F.C. Archived from the original on 10 October 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Levy, Eyal; Amikam, Ron (10 December 2005). "Israel's sporting best, in jest". Maariv (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
- "List of Cup winners" (in Hebrew). Israel Football Association. Archived from the original on 25 May 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Lev Ari, Juni (13 February 2009). "The cup of our own – and of Cinderellas. All the sensations". Ynet (in Hebrew). Retrieved 14 December 2011.
- Helders, Stefan. "Israel: largest cities and towns and statistics of their population". World Gazetteer. Archived from the original on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter