Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem is enjoying a fine run as a well-funded domestic power and a dangerous foe in Europe, but it was a long time in the making. Organized basketball in Jerusalem dates back to before the establishment of the State of Israel. Jerusalem was among the first teams when the Israeli League was founded in 1955, but it was not until the 1990s that the club became the clear No. 2 in Israeli basketball behind Maccabi Tel Aviv. Star guard Adi Gordon and forward Billy Thompson led Jerusalem to its first two titles, the 1996 and 1997 Israeli Cups. Jerusalem reached the 1997 Saporta Cup quarterfinals and played the Euroleague for the first time in the 1997-98 season. In 1999, Jerusalem beat out Maccabi for first place in the Israeli League regular season, but came up short in the playoff finals. The club played the original Euroleague season in 2000-01. In 2002, Meir Tapiro helped Jerusalem climb to the Saporta Cup semifinals and two years later, Willie Solomon, Doron Sheffer, Kelly McCarty and Tunji Awojobi led Jerusalem past mighty Real Madrid in the ULEB Cup title game in Charleroi, Belgium, for its first – and to date only – European trophy. Jerusalem reached the ULEB Cup semifinal in 2006 and lifted the Israeli Cup again in 2007 and 2008. The club remained a regular in the Israeli playoff semifinals and even made a pair of quarterfinal runs in the Eurocup in 2010 and 2014. After Ori Allon led a new ownership group that took charge in 2013 and the club moved into a magnificent new arena in the Holy City, Jerusalem started to aim much higher. Led by Donta Smith, Lior Eliyahu and Yotam Halperin, Jerusalem won its first-ever Israeli League championship in 2015 by downing Hapoel Eilat in the finals. Last season Jerusalem looked poised for a repeat after placing first at the end of the Israeli regular season, but was upset in the single-game final at home. Now Jerusalem looks to compete for glory in the Eurocup, too.
|ULEB Cup: 2003-04
|Israeli National League: 2014-15
|Israeli National Cup: 1996, 1997, 2007, 2008