Israel, Hamas, and CrossFit: A Community Coming Together

Iron Dome

Editor’s Note:

As we work on bringing the community relevant content that has to do with the the lifting community, we work around the clock to find people that have something to say of worth in the world. People who have a passion for what they do in the adversity of their surroundings. The stories you’re about to read a real. Both are by former Israeli Defense Force soldiers and they currently live in Tel Aviv, Israel. Rhode Blocks stands behind Israel, and we pray for the Peace of Israel, and pray for safety for Oren and Avi… Shalom.

Oren’s Story

CrossFit in Israel.

Oren Shneider

When I was asked to write a blog about the CrossFit community in Israel I was wondering: are we different than any other box worldwide? [But in thinking more about it I found that Israel has a particular struggle, here is my story.\

Israel is a smaill country (8 million people), we are not a sports super power, but we do have the passion for it. CrossFit blossomed in Israel around 2009, the first box was opened in 2010 (CF Hertzelya) and I was lucky to open the second one in the country and the first in Tel Aviv. Now, 4 years later our community has grown big. There are 30 affiliate boxes in Israel and more are planning to open.

Like any other crossfitter in the world, we like to lift, clean, swing, jump and run (well, we don’t like running that much).

Lately Israel is under rocket attacks on a daily bases. These rockets are fired from Gaza by Hamas terrorists that are trying to kill us and interrupt our lives.

As CrossFitters, some of us can’t keep our daily training routine, because when the alarm sounds, you got 15-60 second to find shelter and wait for the boom (most of the time the iron dome defense system does shoot down the rocket in the sky). You can imagine what it is like to live like that, but we always look at the bright side. How? Well, we stand up strong as a nation but also as a community. We invite Crossfitters in towns under fire to other boxes that are not beening shot at a lot so they can keep their training routine, we also offer some of them a place to crash for few days until it begins to be quiet again.

[According to the IDF, 90% of the missiles from Gaza that are an actual threat to cities like Tel Aviv, are intercepted using their Iron Dome offensive, which consists of rocket launcher stations positioned throughout Israel to intercept rockets in mid-flight. Today alone from the time of this posting, 60 Hamas rockets have been fired into Israel since 9am their time; all were intercepted.\

Some of our athletes got called to the reserve forces, they keep their morale high by posting some pictures of themselves doing a handstand or a pistol squat on a tank. These types of acts show our real strength, these same acts we use in our kickass WOD that make you wish you were dead. We bring that strength in to real life, by dealing with the crazy situation, we keep on moving, work out, and support each other by standing strong and united.

We keep our prayers that peace will come to our region one day.

Some people say that CrossFit is the sport of life. Us CrossFitters in Israel prove that statement now; CrossFit makes us run faster when the alarm sounds, but it also gave us mental strength to deal with it. —

Avi’s Story


The CrossFit community is growing rapidly in Israel from 6 Affiliates in mid 2012 to 30 Affiliates today. Its all started in 2006 when Mr. Dael Shalev, a paleo diet expert, started recording his workouts on his blog on the Internet. His First workout was a scaled Fran with a 20kg bar and pushups instead of pullups. Very Slowly others started to follow him and and practice CrossFit mainly at Globo gyms with limited CrossFit equipment. In January 2010 Omry Peled opened the first official CrossFit box in Israel and CrossFit fans all over the country came to practice at his place.

In 2011 Israel had its first participant at the Asia CrossFit Regionals. Israel Shamli flew half way around the country to compete againt the best in Asia at Okinawa Japan. Today we have thousands of people practicing CrossFit all over the country and many CrossFit seminars are hosted here.

Many Weightlifting clubs are opening all over the country too due to the demand of the CrossFitters and Israel even hosted the European Weightlifting Championships three month ago.

All the Affiliates in Israel have very good relationships and we host many local tournamentsthroughout the year.

Couple of days ago Israel started an operation against the terror of the Hamas and tens of hundreds of rockets have being falling in Israel every day. Many CrossFit boxes in the south of Israel stop working because it is too dangerous to do CrossFit outside when every hour there the sirens telling you to run to the shelters. Several boxes are helping the soldiers by bringing them food and supplies and others welcome soldiers to train free of charge.

CrossFit has changed the life of many in Israel making them feel more strong and pretty and boosting the confidence of themselves. Israel will want to host major CrossFit competitions in the future and see Rich Froning visit here. —

Avi asked not to be identified beyond his first name for security purposes.

Avi also wanted me to post this…

I want to use this opportunity to wish Dor Shutov good luck with his new CrossFit Box in the city of Modi’in.

Oren Schneider is the owner and head coach of Crossfit White City in Tel Aviv Israel. He is 36 yrs old, married and a proud father of 2 boys, and served in the Israeli Defense Force from 1996-1999. Oren has been a personal trainer and a gym manager before, but he decided to open the first box in Tel Aviv, in 2012 and holds a L-1 cert since 2010.

Visit our website at:

CrossFit White City is located in the center of Tel Aviv.


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