Born in Darlinghurst, New South Wales to Tongan parents, Israel is the third eldest of six children.
Back then as it is today, the church was a big part of Israel’s family life growing up and a focal point of the community.
Israel demonstrated a natural talent for sports from an early age, first achieving national representative honours as part of the Australian schoolboys rugby league team.
“The Christian faith has always been a part of my life and I believe it is my duty as a Christian to share God’s word.” – Israel Folau
After seasons with the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos, Israel made his rugby league debut for the Australian national side in 2007.
Following a stint in the Australian Football League, Israel announced his switch to rugby union in 2012.
As a rugby union player, Israel signed with the New South Wales Waratahs in the Super Rugby competition and made his debut for Australia in 2013. He went on to be capped 73 times for Australia and won the John Eales Medal three times. He is the most prolific try scorer in Super Rugby history and the fourth highest try scoring Australian international player.
“It was an honour and a privilege to go on to represent Australia on the international stage.” – Israel Folau
In 2017, Israel married New Zealand netball player Maria Tutaia.
Together they are members of the The Truth of Jesus Christ Church Sydney congregation, where Israel’s father Eni is a pastor.
After posting biblical messages on social media in April 2019, Israel was issued with a Rugby Australia code of conduct breach notice recommending his contract be terminated.
On the 7th of May 2019, a judicial Code of Conduct hearing convened by Rugby Australia found Israel guilty of a “high level” breach.
Then, on the 17th of May 2019, Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle and NSW Waratahs CEO Andrew Hore announced the termination of Israel’s employment contract.
With his employment contract torn up, on the 6th of June 2019 Israel announced he had filed a claim with the Fair Work Commission against Rugby Australia and the NSW Waratahs for unlawful dismissal on the grounds of religious discrimination.