Robbie's strike, coupled with another from his strike partner Dimitar Berbatov, was enough to record our first win of the UEFA Cup Group Stage, as well as it being a first victory on our travels this season.
Juande Ramos made four changes to the team that started up at Middlesbrough on Saturday, restoring the strike partnership of Keane and Berbatov and also Didier Zokora to the central midfield axis with Jermaine Jenas. Pascal Chimbonda was switched to centre half, with Paul Stalteri drafted in at right back.
It was a sultry evening, weather-wise, at the compact Bloomfield Stadium, with the home team decked out in all red and supported vocally by a sizeable pocket of fans behind the goal protected by Vincent Enyeama in the first half. It was colourful and atmospheric and you imagine that a Tel Aviv derby must be quite an event.
The first attempt on goal came when Bebars Natcho dragged an effort wide of the upright in the eighth minute. The game was not quick to get going and both teams were struggling to establish a foothold or to dominate territorially.
It carried on in much the same fashion until the first decisive move was made in the 26th minute when Keane sent Steed Malbranque scurrying down the left of the Hapoel penalty area and the Frenchman did well to bundle his way through and deliver a cross back into the path of Keane, who smacked the ball home with precision from around penalty spot distance.
The advantage was doubled just four minutes later, the first phase of play being an Aaron Lennon centre that led to a Berbatov shot being blocked in front of goal. The ball found its way out to the left and Malbranque again turned provider with a cross that was calmly nodded into the net past Enyeama by Berbatov.
Keane could have helped himself to a double seven minutes before the break, only denied by a desperate late block by Gabriel Do Santos. Hapoel were rattled and their noisy pocket sat down and went quiet. Chimbonda then headed narrowly over from a Jenas free-kick.
The battling spirit of the home side evaporated as half-time was reached, but they nearly enjoyed a slice of fortune at the beginning of the second period when Bakukh Dego mishit a cross and the flight of it came close to deceiving Paul Robinson and causing a few problems.
Hopes of mounting a comeback were dented five minutes into the half when Gal Shish was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Lennon, having earned the first for an offence against the same player in the first half.
Lennon, moments later, chipped a crossfield pass into the area occupied by Malbranque, who flashed a shot across goal. It was his final contribution to the game as he was subsequently replaced by Jermain Defoe.
The contest again became very disjointed before being sparked by a neat combination between Jenas and Keane that led to the latter drilling just wide. A double change was next with Darren Bent and Kevin-Prince Boateng being introduced to the mix - Jenas and Keane being withdrawn.
The swaps enlivened proceedings, but the game was won and urgency was not an ingredient particularly in evidence.
Robinson had to be alert to save at the feet of Fabio Junior Pereira and we finished the stronger with Bent closest toa third, his effort coming back off the upright after being threaded through by Defoe. All in all, job done.
Click here to see match images of the game.
Robbie Keane made it 25 goals in 33 games when he set us on the way to UEFA Cup victory against Hapoel Tel Aviv on Thursday evening