20 years have passed since Maccabi Tel Aviv defender Meni Levi collapsed on the pitch during a league game against Beitar Jerusalem at Teddy Stadium. It was a traumatic event for all who witnessed it and it is one of the saddest days in the history of the club and in Israeli football.

Levi rose through the junior and youth ranks and played as a right back for most of his career. He made his debut against Hapoel Haifa in the 1999-2000 season and played in four other matches during that campaign, including one start in the penultimate round.

In the subsequent season and a half, Levi consolidated his place in the team and played in 38 additional games for the club in all competitions, scoring two goals. He was a member of the 2000-01 State Cup winning team. 

But Levi’s progression as a footballer came to a shocking end on January 26, 2002 during the early stages of a league match against Beitar Jerusalem at Teddy Stadium when he collapsed suddenly away from the action. After recovering to his feet, he collapsed a second time and lost consciousness. He was treated by medical staff on the pitch before being rushed to hospital and the match was abandoned.

Levi was eventually moved to Loewenstein Rehabilitation Hospital in Raanana where he was treated for several years until he was able to return to his family home.

He has been with them now for the past decade and is well cared for. He does special exercises to strengthen his body and he is able to communicate with people around him.

 Maccabi continue to monitor Meni’s condition continually. At the end of the season when he collapsed, the club won the State Cup for the second straight season and they dedicated the win to him and took the cup with them when they visited him.

two decades have passed since the tragedy but the fans continue to regularly sing a song for Meni in the 12th minute of every game. He wore the number 12 shirt for most of his career. And while they sing his song, Meni’s picture is portrayed on the stadium screen.