Reveling in his joy at scoring the game-winning second goal for his Bavarian soccer team on Sunday night, Almog Cohen, a native Israeli, surprised the crowd by revealing who was really behind his victory. He lifted his red team jersey and uncovered a t-shirt proudly displaying the Hebrew words, “השם הוא האלוקים” – Hashem is God.
When asked about the shirt after the match, Cohen explained, “I am a person with a lot of faith. I have to thank Shalev Menashe (a retired Israeli soccer player). It is his shirt. He visited me and I promised that if I got a goal, I would show it.”
Cohen’s t-shirt became a social media hit. Israeli news site Yediot Ahronot featured the photo on its Facebook page and garnered hundreds of positive comments, with many calling it a kiddush Hashem (a sanctification of God’s name) and labelling Cohen a tzaddik (holy man).
“Long live Israel! It is very exciting because there is nothing like a strong belief in the Creator. Even if you are surrounded by enemies, never doubt there is someone who protects you,” wrote Norit Ifergen in Hebrew.
Also in Hebrew, Tzion Ezrad noted that the action was all the more meaningful for its location. “On German soil, we need to give them this response, that despite everything, Israel is still alive,” he wrote.
One anonymous comment on Sport 5, a Hebrew language sports site, read, “It is important to show that we accept the rule of Heaven, even in front of the non-Jews, so that they will accept it without hate. More power to you, Almog!”
Another anonymous Hebrew comment on the site said, “It is a pleasure to see a Jew proud of his Judaism.”
Cohen played for Maccabi Netanya in Israel from 2006 until 2010, and was the Israeli Premier League Runner-up in 2006. He began been playing in the German Bundesliga soccer league in 2010, and for Ingolstadt in 2013.