By Duncan Mackay

Israel has launched a bid to host the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup ©IBAIsrael has launched a bid to host the 2018 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup, it was announced today. 

The Israel Basketball Association (IBA) claimed that if the bid is successful it would be the most important sports event to be staged in the country. 

"Israel has a huge passion for basketball," said IBA President Amiram Halevy.

There are few countries where basketball is as popular or more popular than football.

"Israel is one of these.

"There is no doubt that hosting the 2018 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup would bring tremendous momentum to Israeli basketball and in particular to the women's game in the country and beyond."

Israel is one of Europe's most successful countries with its top men's club Maccabi Tel Aviv winning the Euroleague title for the fifth time. 

The men's national team, meanwhile, has qualified for the final rounds of every EuroBasket since 1993. 

This year's Israel's women won promotion in its Under-18 European Championship with the men doing the same in the Under-16 event. 

Israel has previously staged the Under-18 European Championship for Men in 2010, the Under-18 European Championship for Women in 2009 and the European Championship for Women in 1991.

But a major obstacle to a successful bid from Israel could be the volatile political situation in the region.

Earlier this year a number of events had to be moved from the country due to the conflict in Gaza. 

These included the 2015 3x3 Basketball Under-18 World Championships, which will now be held in Hungary. 

The United States again won the FIBA World Championship for Women in Turkey earlier this year ©Getty ImagesThe United States again won the FIBA World Championship for Women in Turkey this year ©Getty Images

Israel's Ministry of Culture and Sport has, nevertheless, given the bid its backing. 

"Israel has an extensive international experience - and proven success - in organising and hosting large-scale sporting events," said Israel's Minister of Culture and Sport Uri Schaefer.

"Our Ministry will provide the IBA with the financial support and the relevant assitance.

"Israel has many advantages in hosting the 2018 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup, including state-of-the-art arenas and stadiums that have been built in the past few years and that are all within short driving distances.

"The country also has a great welcoming weather throughout the year and numerous attractions off the courts for both athletes and fans, modern transportation and hotels and many sport fans that will fill the venues during the event."

So far the only other confirmed bidder is Spain, who earlier this year held a successful Men's World Cup. 

This year's event, known as the FIBA World Championship for Women, was hosted in Turkey where the United States lifted the trophy for the sixth time in eight tournaments.

They beat Spain 77-64 in the final, which was held at the Ülker Sports Arena in Istanbul.

Israel's women has never qualified for either the World Championships or Olympic Games.  

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