Gabri Levi

Was an Israeli businessman, dancer, and choreographer, who also served as the chairman of the Israel Football Association.


Gabri Levi was born in 1937 in Petah Tikva to a Bulgarian immigrant family. He began his interest in dance at the age of 15 and joined the "Alumim Petah Tikva" dance group under the guidance of Yonatan Karmon, who later recruited him into the central dance group of the Histadrut labor federation.

In 1957, he was involved in the establishment of Yonatan Karmon's "Karmon Dance Troupe" and embarked on world tours with the troupe. Starting in 1959, he lived in the United States, where he founded the "Tzabarim" dance group, with which he worked for five years.

During that time, he also studied various dance styles, including classical ballet and jazz. In 1964, he returned to the Karmon Dance Troupe and served as the artistic director's assistant.

In 1973, Levi was appointed to lead the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) dance troupe, but a few years later, IDF Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan decided to disband the troupe. Following the disbandment, Levi regrouped the former members of the troupe and, in 1976, initiated the "Shalom 1976" dance troupe, led by Samuel Tzimach. The troupe represented Israel around the world.

Levi choreographed numerous dance groups throughout his career, including those in the Jordan Valley, Jezreel Valley, Negev, Western Galilee, Beit Hagefen in Haifa, Hadrin in Rehovot, and more. He also produced and directed the opening and closing ceremonies for the 13th and 14th Maccabiah Games, as well as the 15th Maccabiah Games.

He worked as a choreographer for various theater productions as well. In 1979, he choreographed the transition segment for the Eurovision Song Contest held in Jerusalem, which was performed by the "Shalom" dance troupe. His work earned him the David's Harp and the Silver Rose awards.

From 1996 to 2003, Levi served as the chairman of the Israel Football Association (IFA). After his retirement from this position, he returned to managing the "Shalom" dance troupe. In 2005 and 2006, he served as a judge on the television program "Dancing with the Stars," and in 2007, he became a member of the panel on the sports channel's program "Yatzia Ha'Itzunot."

Football Activity

In 1989, Levi became the chairman of the Hapoel Petah Tikva Football Club, and later he became a member of the Israel Football Association, eventually assuming the role of chairman.

In September 1996, he was appointed as the chairman of the Israel Football Association (replacing Azrikam Meltsan), a position he held for seven years. During his tenure, significant changes were made to the structure of football leagues in Israel, and the Premier League, formerly known as the National League, was introduced. Additionally, broadcasting rights for the Premier League matches were sold for the first time to the Sports Channel.

Notably, Levi demanded to be paid a salary for his role, even though his predecessors had served voluntarily. During his time in charge, two football coaches, Richard Nelson (replacing Shlomo Scharf) and Abraham Grant (replacing Nelson), were appointed.

Levi himself resigned several times from his positions within the association due to various disputes but later returned each time. His period in office saw significant developments and controversies in Israeli football:

In 2005, the Haifa District Court ruled that Gabri Levi had to perform 100 hours of community service in response to the assault on journalist Haim Ozan on October 10, 2000.

Following his retirement from the chairmanship of the Israel Football Association, he returned to serve as the chairman of Hapoel Petah Tikva Football Club. Regarding his tenure as the chairman of the Israel Football Association, Levi once stated, "I think I was an exceptional chairman, but one doesn't talk about oneself."

In 1959, Gabri Levi married Leah Levgoran, a dancer in his dance troupe, and they had three children, including football coach Guy Levi. His nephew is the Israeli footballer Yehuda Levi.

In his later years, Gabri Levi lived in Tel Aviv. He passed away on August 16, 2018, after battling a severe illness.

Reviews (0)
No reviews yet.