Eden Ben Basat's header had given the hosts the lead in Tel Aviv shortly before half-time but Steven Davis equalised in the 73rd minute to gain a point that moved the visitors one point above Luxembourg to finish fifth in Group F.
The result brought to an end a run of three defeats for Northern Ireland, that period having included losses against Azerbaijan and Luxembourg.
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But the former Shamrock Rovers manager was happy with his side's performance on the night at a difficult away destination.
"It was a good result, let's be honest," he remarked. "I said to the players before the game that, whatever happened, they could not let anyone question their character at the end - and I think they did that.
"This a difficult place to come and that's proved by the fact that only Russia have won here in the group but I felt the players did extremely well in the second half.
"I think a draw was the least we deserved given the way we played. Israel came and stole a win in Belfast so it would have been nice to steal one back here."