Analyzing Israel’s Use of Sports for Public Diplomacy through ...

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The use of sports for public diplomacy dates back to the city-states in Ancient Greece and their participation in the athletic competitions in Olympia. In modern times, states, cities, regions, and communities have been using sports to facilitate their local and international goals. The purpose of this study is to analyze how Israel uses sports for public diplomacy purposes through international relations perspectives. The authors conducted semi-structured interviews with eleven members from Israeli sports organizations and three members of Israeli governmental agencies. This study discusses the findings from the lens of international relations theories such as realism and liberalism. Results of this study show that while liberalism can explain certain functions of sports as a diplomatic tool by different non-governmental organizations and even international organizations, the realist perspective is more applicable to the situation in Israel, as the state prioritizes national security and foreign policy. This study is significant as it contributes to existing knowledge on the connection between sports, soft power, public diplomacy, and predominant theories in international relations.