Play ball!

Israel may not be a favorite politically, but the Jewish State is moving up in the world of international baseball.

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Israel has moved up to 19th place in the International Baseball Federation world rankings, and is now ahead of Great Britain, Nicaragua and South Africa.

After having won the European Championship C-Pool tourney in Slovenia this past July, Israel now finds itself in the B-Pool for 2015.

Israel also took second place in the PONY tournament in Prague, and won second and third places respectively in the Tuscany Series baseball tournaments in Italy.

In addition, Israel Baseball player Noam Calisar was selected to participate in an MLB camp during the summer.

Peter Kurz, president of the Israel Association of Baseball noted that Israel baseball has taken “major steps over the past year, increasing in size by 25 percent and expanding activities so that we improve the level of play throughout the leagues.”

Kurz is hoping to establish an MLB sanctioned Israel Baseball Academy to develop top players in the future.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.