Israel's Under-20 team received a hero's welcome when they returned home from the Czech Republic after claiming the silver medal at the European Championship.
For the second time in a row, Israel lost in the final. This time they fell to Slovenia, but their supporters praised the team's efforts.
"You are the future of Israeli basketball," Israel Basketball Association chairman Yermi Olmert told the players, www.haaretz.com reported.
Coach Arik Shebak praised his players, saying they had shown enormous physical and mental fortitude.
Assistant coach Yaakov Gino said that the team had been frustrated on Sunday over the defeat, but that the enormity of the achievement had finally sunk in.\
"We lost in the final because of problems with defensive rebounds that enabled Slovenia to swing the momentum in the final minute," said Gino.
Captain Yotam Halperin of Maccabi Tel Aviv said he was extremely proud of his team-mates.
"We have been through a lot over the past two years," said Halperin.
"We have been through happy and sad moments, but the important thing is that we are continuing together for another year."
Hapoel Jerusalem point guard, Raviv Limonad, one of Israel's top players at the tournament, summed up the team's feeling when he said: "To reach the final of the European Championship is an enormous achievement, but if you reach the final you want to take the title, so we are disappointed.
"But we still have the challenge of the World Championship left."