Israel started his career on the Broadway stage as assistant to legendary director George Abbott. After working at the New Dramatists Guild and the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference he came to LA, and was an executive at both ABC and CBS. During this time he wrote and directed the break through indie hit Tunnel Vision, which introduced such future stars as Chevy Chase, John Candy and Al Franken. On television, he wrote Ringo, a special that starred Ringo Starr and George Harrison. He then wrote with his partner, Pat Proft, the first Police Academy movie, which spawned six sequels. He directed and co wrote Bachelor Party, which starred Tom Hanks. He followed this with the comedy Moving Violations. Real Genius, another of his scripts, was made into a successful film starring Val Kilmer, and in 1987, he produced the film Three O'Clock High. He also directed "Breaking The Rules" starring Jason Bateman and the cult classic "Surf Ninjas" with Rob Schneider and Leslie Nielsen.
Neal continues to work in both film and television as a writer, director and producer and script doctor. He has directed numerous movies of the week, pilots, and episodes of shows such as The Wonder Years, Nash Bridges, "Joan of Arcadia", and Even Stevens. Recent directing credits include Disney's Zeke and Luther and Kickin It.