“The conduct of the Israeli actor was as if he were elevated from the people”


After ten years as a sponsor and owner, Shlomo Isaac Decided to leave Hapoel Holon. In fact, it was a full term in the events: from saving the team from almost disintegration to within touching distance of the championship, participation in Europe, winning the state cup and also quite a few affair that are not necessarily related to basketball. In a special retirement interview for the sports channel, he addresses the reasons that led to his departure, talks about the great disappointment from the authorities and the Israeli player, and recalls many exciting moments from the last decade. “In many cases in the past, I said that Hapoel Holon is not a job for life,” he explains. “That’s how I always relied on it, as a project that has a beginning and an end. I decided in advance to vacate the chair and let others come and do things a little differently. For me, it’s not right to get stuck in a certain place.”

So why did you leave just now? Because of the corona?
“I had thoughts of leaving already last season, but I was tempted to stay another year. Corona has no influence, I expressed my desire not to continue in Holon long before it.”

Have you stopped enjoying?
“There is no doubt that in the last two seasons I have not really enjoyed, I even suffered. We had wrong choices in all kinds of decisions we made, and there were too many events that I did not like. “The failure was difficult. If I add to that wrong choices, of players and professional team, it made it difficult for me, and that’s one of the reasons I left.”

So what did you manage to enjoy in your time as an owner?
“I enjoyed saving the team in 2016, otherwise Hapoel Holon would not be there. I enjoyed bringing the club to a very high level in Israeli sports. I enjoyed building something stable but modest, and I think I am bequeathing something excellent.”

How do you know you’re not leaving scorched earth?
“I can not guarantee anything because people come and people go, but I believe that with the current staff remaining at the club – which I wish would stay in the coming seasons as well – it will be okay.”

“The Israeli actors acted as if they were being raised by the people”
As Isaac has claimed, quite a few things have bothered him in the last two seasons. One of the difficulties was actually with the Israeli players – the difficult negotiations on the salary after the corona and the Guy Pnini affair, which reached the arbitration. “These stories did me no good,” says Isaac. “It made me think for whom and for what I pay. These guys get a salary from me, and if they behave the way they do, then maybe they don’t deserve it. ”

Who are they?
“When the Corona issue broke out, I felt that the Israeli players were behaving in the way they were raised from the people. That is, it rained on everyone, except for the Israeli basketball players. You can not ignore what is happening in the country. Half a million self-employed people who do not know what to do with themselves, and you act as if nothing is happening? It bothered me a lot. ”

What is meant by “acting as if nothing is happening”?
“They had contracts that are ‘no cut’, and everything that happens in the world – not of interest to them.”

But on the other hand you can understand them, they have a signed contract
“True, but you can not behave like this in a time of uncertainty, in a time of global epidemic in these dimensions. Something is happening here that disables business, that does not allow sponsors to pay what they promised, and I think to myself: ‘What’s going on here? How can it be?’ Business manager, employee manager and manager of a whole system of contracts and commitments.I have business flexibility to behave one way or another in times of crisis, which almost never happens in Israeli basketball, and that’s a problem. “Such a thing. If I have an employee in a business that I can not meet my commitment to – I will give him a hearing and he will go home. In basketball it does not happen. There is a patent called ‘No Cut’, and you are stuck with contracts.”

You signed this “no cut” yourself
True, but then the corona came. None of this would have happened without the corona. In an age where there is a problem in the markets, you can not stand aside and say ‘no cut’ and after the flood. The whole set of agreements in the world of sports must be changed, otherwise people like me They will get there. ”

“There were brats who told me ‘put your hand in your pocket'”
Hapoel Holon fans are a story in themselves. On the one hand, this is one of the largest and hottest crowds in Israel, but on the other hand – there have been cases in the past where they crossed the lines, behind the rival benches and even in events against their players, as happened after the Cup quarterfinal against Nahariya this season. “99.9 percent of the fans are just fine,” Isaac says. “It’s true that there are statements and events here and there, but it’s negligible in relation to the amount of audience. But when that happens, it’s like an arrow being thrown at you, and there have been incidents in me that have been very personally hit.”

same as?
“For example, sayings of a brat of one kind or another who tells me ‘put your hand in your pocket’. It’s not pleasant to hear, but like I said, it’s the minority of the minority. And children. ”

And yet, there have been less pleasant incidents here and there
“True, and that’s something that needs to be eliminated.”

Can it be done at all? Eliminate completely?
“I think so, I believe in personal example. If there is an expression of family at Hapoel Holon today, then I can attribute it to myself. We brought good people into the system, we created a good culture around the club. True, it is impossible to uproot all the weeds, but slowly “They are slowly dwindling. It is a process, and I think that in the end, within a few years, the whole experience at Hapoel Holon will be positive, electrifying. I am sure I will continue to be a fan, no one will move me from my chair in the hall.”

“Government promises – you can write them on the ice”
As part of owning a sports team, Isaac has been in constant contact with other outsiders – the municipality, government ministries and the basketball association for example. The bureaucracy and difficulties they have created will frustrate him greatly. “The interface with the institutions was very unpleasant for me,” he said. “I had a positive experience with the league director, I felt they always helped, but with the rest of the organizations my experiences were very unpleasant. The difficulties with the municipality and with government ministries were not the main reason for my departure, but they certainly had some contribution. “I have this conduct, with promises that are not being fulfilled. This is territory that did not suit me.”

Give examples
“As far as the Holon municipality is concerned, I do not remember a request I made – and it was granted. There are security funds that were promised to us and did not arrive on time or we have not received them at all. In general, government promises – they can be written on ice. Either they do not happen, or they just happen. Some of them, or are starting to explain to you why it’s impossible now. I’m also skeptical of all about the Treasury’s support for the safety net. If I was told when it would come and how it would come, then I would say it’s serious. But the numbers are up, serious”.

You are describing a problem here that is much bigger than Hapoel Holon or Shlomo Isaac
“The problem is that there is no windfall from the state to the whole issue of sports, there is no uniform line. One local authority supports the team, another authority does not support at all. There are teams with private owners, there are teams without private owners. Nothing messy, it looks like one market “Great, which ultimately creates chaos. In the State of Israel, sports are not in the right place and it affects everything. These things create distortions. How can it be explained that there is a local authority that gives NIS 6 million to the team, and there is an authority that does not give at all?”

It may be that the Holon municipality is simply “easier” to give less – Hapoel Holon has a private owner, so the municipality does not “have to” support, unlike Rishon LeZion, Nahariya or Ness Ziona
“If that’s the way it is, then it’s very sad. I heard an interview in the past with Eli Ohana, who said something that pretty much hurt me. He said about owners of sports teams in Israel that” suckers just change. ” Sucker, but he’s probably temporary, because in the end he will understand that it is not profitable and will go. ”

What would you recommend to a businessman who wants to get into Israeli basketball?
“First of all I will talk to him, and if it really tickles him I will tell him two things: first thing, that will limit his involvement time, and that he will limit the amount.”

Were there times when you spent more than you planned?
“for sure”.

And how did that affect you?
“The feelings are unpleasant, you feel like you are being dragged. It’s something that does not happen in business habits, because basketball is not a normal business, there are a lot of emotions. It does not feel good when it happens.”

I do not intend to return
It is not yet clear what Hapoel Holon will look like in the post-Solomon Isaac era, but it is certain that the budget will be smaller – probably until a person arrives who will invest at least the same amounts of money that Isaac invested. “Maybe this is the problem of sports in Israel,” concludes Isaac, and explains: “If Hapoel Holon depends on Shlomo Isaac, then maybe it has no right to exist.”

There’s a chance you’ll be back?

“I will never say never, but I will not return in the foreseeable future.”

And if you get SOS again?
“I received twice and that’s enough. Once in 2016 from Dan Shamir and the last time in 2011. Let someone else come.”

What is your happiest moment?
“When I came to my late dad with the trophy, it was one of the most amazing moments of my life.”

But in the end, was it a positive experience?
“Very much so, but an experience I’ve had three years beyond what was planned.”


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