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1939 Palestine Tour of Australia Print E-mail
Saturday, 10 August 2013 11:47

After the 1st World War, the Jewish communities of Melbourne and Sydney established Judean sporting clubs. With many of the immigrants from Europe, it was inevitable that football teams became offshoots. By 1927, 3 teams had formed the Sydney Judean Soccer League - Maccabean Junior, Randwick-Coogee and Jewish AC. At the same time, under the stewardship of businessman Isaac (Jack) Skolnik, Melbourne Hakoah was playing in the Victorian Suburban league, their home ground being near Princes Park.

In 1929 Skolnik wrote to his Sydney counterparts with the hope of establishing an annual football competition between the two. In September of that year, Melbourne Hakoah travelled to Sydney for a 3 game 'test' series against a combined Sydney Judean League side. The games, which were played at St George's sports ground, were closely contested encounters and good crowds attended, with the Sydney side winning all 3 tests.

Three years later, Skolnik, travelled to Palestine to represent the Australian branch of the Macabbi organisation at the Jewish Olympic Games. It was reported that while there he would endeavour to complete arrangements for a tour of Australia to be made by a world's Jewish Soccer team. The report went onto mention that "the (Australian) association is prepared to promote the tour if the necessary £2,500 capital to meet expenses can be found." However nothing eventuated from Skolnik's approach.

Ironically it was Germany's annexation of Austria in 1938 that put a Palestine tour of Australia back on the agenda.

The Australian Association had been in correspondence with Austrian club, Rapid, and the Indian National team about touring Australia. In June they rejected a proposal to bring out a Palestine team despite the Melbourne Jewish community backing the tour with £1000 and providing accommodation.

However when Rapid applied to the German Football Association for permission to tour it was rejected.

With little hope of any European side touring Australia, the Association eventually changed it's previous stance and in early 1939, agreed for Palestine to tour, as long as the financial backing was guaranteed.

Before leaving for Australia, the touring party laid a wreath on the Australian War Memorial, opposite the entrance gates of the British War Cemetery, at Mount Scopus, Jerusalem in memory of fallen Australian soldiers.

The players, who were mostly from the powerful Maccabi Tel-Aviv club side with a few players from other teams included to create a 'Palestine' banner under which to play. The Grand Mufti had a message for Australia, when placing this ad Grand Mufti message in a newspaper upon the arrival of the tourists in Western Australia.

The visitors were officially welcomed to Australia by the chairman of the board of control of the West Australian Soccer Football Association (Mr.F. Smith) and members of the board. Following the official reception, the Palestine players had their first practice run since leaving Ceylon at the Stephen street Reserve, after which they were brought to Perth and entertained at a luncheon tendered by the board of management of the Perth Hebrew Congregation. They then sailed for Melbourne in the evening.

June 24 Vs Victoria @ Olympic Park

Palestine began their tour with an emphatic 7-1 victory against Victoria. 4000 spectators turned up to see the tourists completely overwhelm thePower dives locals with speed, positional play and deft passing. The margin would have been greater if it had not been for Victoria's goalkeeper, Power (pictured right), who was voted the local's best player.

PALESTINE v. VICTORIA by B. Salmond - Sunshine Advocate, 30 June 1939.

I set myself a difficult task when I said I would try to give readers who were unable to be present at the game a description, of the play. To use an Irishism, it is easy, yet hard. I could not really convince readers how one-sided the game was. To get to business : I have always held that the proper method of playing soccer is to make the ball do the work, and that the visitors have mastered the work to a fine art was exemplified on Saturday. I never yet saw a game played with such machine-like precision. Positional play is their trump card. It was very noticeable during the whole 90 minutes that when any one of the talented team wished to dispose of the ball when tackled, he did not look to see where he was going to transfer it, he just simply sent it to where his confrere should be and sure enough it would get home.

What I really admired about the forwards was that they moved as one man, kept cool heads, seldom got offside, moved en block right in on goal. I thought at times their coolness amounted to colossal cheek. They just took their time, planted the ball when and where they liked. The half backs never at any time overkicked their forwards. What is the use of a half-back kicking a ball forty yards to an opponent just to have it returned, when he could have placed it to one of his' own forwards about 15 or 20 yards away, where the forward could carry on into enemy territory to better advantage. The three inside men of the visitors were positively the 'most clever trio ever I saw. Of course, I'll grant you they were allowed to play their own game and a team can only play well as the other fellows will allow them, and now, what about the Victorians. "Well, one thing: I will say: they never had a harder afternoon's leather chasing all their lives. They brought it all upon themselves. Every one of them seemed intent on getting rid of the ball as it was red hot, instead of holding it and drawing the opposition before, It was very apparent towards the end of the game that what was uppermost in most of the Victorians' minds, was that they hoped the ball' would not come to them.

June 27 Vs Metropolis @ Olympic Park

Victorian selectors made 3 changes to the Metropolis side that was to take on Palestine, but it made little difference, as the Palestinians ran out emphatic 8-1 winners.

The team then traveled immediately to Sydney by train, however they missed their 1st training session due to the fact that most of the team had not been able to sleep in the 2nd class carriages booked for them by the Australian Association. In response to criticism against the local Association, the Secretary R Drury countered that the "conditions for the travel and accommodation for the Palestine team had been arranged long before the team left it's country, and had been accepted by the Palestine Association, and 2nd class travel was one of the conditions drawn up after consideration of the estimates of expenses and gate receipts."

In other words, the Australian Association expected the Palestinians to be a less skillful team than any of the local sides, and subsequently the crowds and gate receipts would be low.

Sydney arrival

July 1st Vs NSW @ Sydney Cricket Ground

Playing a robust, enterprising game which offset the short passing technique of their opponents, New South Wales defeated the Palestine Soccer team by six goals to four. Hesitancy in tackling, and an inability to take full advantage of goal opportunities, cost the Jewish team the match. The combination of the New South Wales men and their positional play, showed again that, on an amateur international basis, the quality of Australian Soccer is high.

New South Wales dominated the first half, leading at the interval by three goals to one. In the Jewish play there was an absence of cohesion between the half-backs and the forwards, which suggested that the unexpected enterprise of New South Wales had thrown their tactical machine out of gear. But a fourth goal to New South Wales in the first of half seemed to put 'punch' into Palestine, and a series of brilliant movements brought three goals, to make the scores level.

New South Wales had something in reserve, and they swung the ball from wing to wing against the tiring opposition to clinch the match.

July 4 Vs Northern Districts

Showing an improved attacking combination and a greater tenacity in defence than against New South Wales on Saturday, the Palestine Soccer team beat a Northern District team by three goals to one at Cessnock this afternoon. In bitterly cold weather, only the excellent goalkeeping by Morgan prevented the Palestine side from scoring a substantial victory. The Palestine players have improved all round, though positional defects in defence suggest certain defeat by the best Australian teams playing their best football.

July 8th Sydney Morning Herald

Tomorrow Australian soccer will be put to another test when the representative team meets Palestine at Sydney Cricket Ground, in the first soccer test match. There is no doubt that the Palestine team is good, and with the added practice it has gained since it was beaten 6-4 last week-end by a New South Wales side, it should be particularly dangerous, especially as the Australians will have had little opportunity to practice as a team.

All things taken into consideration, Australia appears to have a slight advantage over the visitors, and should just finish on top. Palestine has substituted royal blue shirts with a white band and white shorts for tomorrow for the white shirts in which they appeared last week. Australia's team will carry the national colours, green and gold.

Australia: Goal, J. McNabb (Weston) ; full-backs, A. Henwood (Adamstown) ; J. B.Evans (Goodyear) ; halfbacks, W. Coolahan (Adamstown), J.Parkes (Goodyear), J. Osborne (Metters); forwards, R. Crowhurst (Metters), J.Wilkinson (Weston), A. Quill (Wallsend), J. Hughes (Metters), M.Wynn (Metters). Reserves: T. Harris (Weston), R. Dale (Wallsend).

July 9 Vs Australia 1st testMcNabb dives

Australia won the first Soccer test match against Palestine at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday, by 7 goals to 5. Although the margin was narrow, the real difference in the skill of the two sides was indicated by the Australians lead of 6-1 at half-time. Palestine showed that it had no hope of matching any first-class Australian side.

After the interval, few of the Australians retained interest in the game, and they either confined themselves to the strict duties of their 'own positions or ran mildly along the unproductive paths of prettiness for prettiness' sake.

Number one man of the home side, and of the game was McNabb, the goalkeeper. Although suffering from influenza, he had, in the second half an unusual share of work for a game in which his team was so manifestly superior. This was due largely to his halves moving well up the field on individual excursions, and his backs then being drawn out of their ground.

Evans broke Palestine's attacking hearts early, but with the game well won he seemed to see no reason to bustle himself. Henwood, the other back, was industrious.The forwards, as a line, felt the absence of ths constructive work done by Lonergan on the previous Saturday. The Palestine team, although not lacking in courage, had some serious deficiencies. It seemed to lack some method of dealing with the 'always on the ball' tactics of Australian Soccer at its best.

The team's next stop was Queensland, where they would not only play a series of matches, but several of the team begun Surf Life Saver training in the hope of obtaining the Australian Associations' Bronze medal, so that upon return to Palestine they would be able to patrol beaches in Tel-Aviv and Haifa.

A. Shnalderovitz and W. Menahem, members of the Palestine Soccer team were successful and were recommended for surf proficiency medallions at the Surf Life saving Association of Australia. They passed the necessary tests Kirra beach under the guidance of the Superintendent of the Point Danger Branch (Mr. Alan Kennedy) and the State Superintendent. Back up goalie Mizrali was recommended for proficiency award.

The President of the Kirra Club (Mr S. W. Winders), who watched the test, said that considering the brief period of training, Menahem and Shnaiderovitz showed commendable proficiency. Menahem was particularly good and would make a first class life-saver. Menahem said the trio were learning life-saving to enable them to teach other men on their return to Palestine. and organise life saving clubs there. He said Palestine had two good beaches, but they were not patrolled, and surfing was dangerous for that reason.

July 12 Vs Queensland

Displaying a brilliant exhibition of ball control and keen positional play, the Palestine Soccer team defeated Queensland by 5 goals to 1 under floodlight at the Exhibition Ground last night. Not since the Chinese team of 1923 has such an artistic display of the code been given in Brisbane. Molding their play on typical Scottish lines, the Palestine team outwitted Queensland with their cohesion in defence and attack. If anything they erred in the tendency to finesse in front of goal, and with a more determined spirit in attack they must have secured a greater winning margin.

No greater outside left has been provided by recent international teams than S. Ginsberg, while the high standard set by the Jewish forward line provided a spectacle in which each of the five units combined to maintain an attack which repeatedly shattered the hard working and untiring Queensland defence. Queensland was frequently forced to adopt a spoiling defence in order to nullify the well thought-out moves and goal-scoring opportunities by the Jewish halves, Fuchs, Lieberman, and Menaheim.

Palestine Hopeful of Victory

The Palestine Soccer team to meet Australia in the second Test at the Exhibition Ground to-morrow will be the same as that which defeated Queensland 5-1 on Wednesday night. The manager (Mr. Arazi) considers that this combination is the strongest that the visitors can field and judging by their splendid display against Queensland, it would not surprise if they avenged their defeat in the first Test.

Another factor in favour of Palestine tomorrow will be the absence of W. Coolahan, the right half, who was unable to obtain leave to come to Brisbane. Coolahan is recognised as one of the best halves in Australia, and he played an outstanding part in the first Test. His place will be taken by R. Lawrie, the Queensland half, who will have his first taste of international Soccer. Lawrie has been one of the most consistent players in club football this year, but in the interstate game against New South Wales and the match against Palestine he was not particularly impressive. His task tomorrow will be rendered more difficult by the fact that he will be opposed to Ginsberg, who is regarded as one of the best left wingers ever to come to Australia.

The Australian middle line will now be composed entirely of Queensland players, and, to a large extent, the result of the game may depend on their showing. Gibb should be able to hold his own as he is one of the best halves this State has produced, but it remains to be seen whether Roderick and Lawrie can cope with the clever combination which Palestine is likely to show.

July 15 Vs Australia 2nd test @ Brisbane

The Australians superior stamina, rather than skill at a critical stage of the match enabled them to win by two goals to one goal in the Soccer test match against Palestine, at the Exhibition Ground.

A draw would have been a better index of the play until the concluding stages when the Australians dominated the situation with their greater speed and flash. The outstanding impression of the first half was the magnificent keeping of the Palestine goalie Sidi. Australia's efforts in front of goal lacked the snap and finish but the shot of Quill, Kitching and Donaldson on occasion might have beaten any custodian less safe than Sidi. Sidi's anticipation of the ball and his brilliant clearances undoubtedly prevented Australia from establishing a first half lead.

McNabb lived up to his reputation as Australia's foremost goalkeeper but he rarely had to face a dangerous situation. The Palestine forwards though often within striking distance dilly dallied with the ball too much in front of goal and many golden opportunities thus went astray.

Palestine had a much greater share of the ball in the opening stages and the match then as a spectacle was disappointing. Play livened up considerably fifteen minutes after the start when the exchanges were brisker and there was little to choose between the teams.

The second half was played with more dash and Australia, with half backs Lawrie and Gibb giving the forwards more of the ball did most of the attacking but the shooting was weak. Palestine's first goal was scored ten minutes after the resumption.

Palestine's inside left Neufeld accomplished the unexpected when snapping up a pass by Ginsberg. He dribbled the ball and tricked the rightbackQuill in action Evans and beat McNabb with a low drive into the corner of the net. Australia equalised ten minutes later from a magnificent ground shot by Crowhurst. Quill (pictured right) made the opening pushing the ball out to Crowhurst who let drive with a daisy cutter.

With 15 minutes of the game left, Hughes netted the winning goal from close in after the Crowhurst's corner kick rebounded off the crossbar.

July 17 Vs Queensland @ Ipswich

After a very even first half when the score was one all, the Palestine Soccer team routed Queensland in the second half at Ipswich today and won by eight goals to one. The visitors played much the better game than in Saturday's test and showed a big improvement in shooting in the second session. The home defence was unable to cope with their clever passing and Palestine scored at will. Lisberman and Resinik shone in the defence and Shulizmon on the left-wing was the best forward for Palestine. Makhlis netted four goals and Hudson scored Queensland's only.

July 18 Vs Queensland @ Toowoomba

The Palestine Soccer team completely outplayed a weak Queensland side today to win by 13 goals to 3. Playing with perfect understanding throughout, Palestine attacked incessantly. Their halves and forwards combined in a fashion that left some of the defence helpless. The Palestine forwards had plenty of chance to show their ability and Werner and Neufeld were outstanding. The wingers, Ginsburg and Shulamzon, were always in the picture. Scorers for Palestine were: Neufeld (7), Makulis (2), Werner (3) and Shulamzon. Hoskins and Hughes netted for Queensland and the Palestine defender kicked into his own goal.

July 22 Vs Australia - Third Test @ Sydney Cricket Ground

Poor Exhibition by Australia.

The Palestine team defeated Australia in the third Soccer test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday, by two goals to one. Australia had won the first and second tests. Two more tests remain to be played.The Australian eleven gave, collectively, the worst exhibition that can be remembered in recent years from any representative side containing previously well-performed New South Wales players. Let no credit be denied to Palestine.

The loyal Soccer followers who made up Saturday's small attendance must have been greatly disappointed at any stage of Saturdays first half when the standard of play on both sides was below what would be expected from a good class State League game. The Australian side should have been able to take the game under control and build up a lead that would have meant eventual victory. Gallant as was the resistance of Palestine after the interval a path to its goal mouth was always available to any side which played on Sidi's tendency to come well out under pressure.

Only four of the Australians came out of the game without having done serious in some cases erreparable damage to their football reputations. McNabb, though pillars of the temple of Australian Soccer fell all around him, was still the imperturbable highpriest of goal-keeping through which no unworthy Palestinian shot could penetrate. Whitelaw conscientiously and ruggedly proved in his first game as an Australian back that he will be one of the indispensable of test sides of seasons still to come. The centre half Parkes forced by the deficiencies of his flank men to attempt to convert himself into a one man half back line did not and could not succeed but his failure was more acceptable than many successes.

Wilkinson starved at outside right was not the worst and Evans showed the magnificent football which he has produced for representative sides for many years past had declined. No man could have toiled harder than he did individually but his kicking lacked length and direction and he did not have the pace to utilise the positional instincts whlch he demonstrated.

July 25 Vs Illawarra

SYDNEY, July 25.-The Palestine soccer team defeated Illawarra by three goals to 2 at Woonona today. The game was interesting throughout, although Palestine had the better of the exchanges in the second half. Shortly after the resumption of play following the interval heavy rain fell and this made the ground greasy and the ball difficult to control The ball control and understanding by the visitors appealed greatly to the crowd which included many miners. The scores were:-Palestine: Makhlis (2) and Neufeld. Illawarra: Naughton (2).

The Palestine soccer team completely outplayed a weak Queensland side at Toowoomba today to win by 13 goals to 3. Playing with perfect understanding throughout the Palestine players attacked incessantly, their halves and forwards combining in a fashion that left the home defence helpless. In the circumstances the Palestine forwards had every opportunity of showing their ability and Werner and Neufeld were outstanding. The wingers, Ginsburgh and Shulamzon, were always in the picture. Scorers:-Palestine: Neufeld (7), Makhlis (2), Werner (3), and Shulamzon. Queensland: Hoskins and Hughes, while a Palestine defender kicked into his own goal.

July 29 Vs Australia 4th test

Sydney Morning Herald

Poor Newcastle Match


The Australian Soccer eleven clinched the rubber against Palestine by a 4-1 victory at Newcastle on Saturday in the fourth test match which like the earlier games of the series was unworthy of test status. The largest northern crowd attracted by any code of football this season spent a bored afternoon watching.

July 31 Vs Northern Districts

Playing well in advance of their Test showings, the Palestine Soccer team drew two goals each with a strong Northern Districts.The Palestine team included several players not seen in previous matches in New South Wales. One was the goalkeeper, Mizrahi, who, despite a leg injury early in the play, showed form that made it surprising that he had not been preferred to Sidi in the Tests. The Northern District team was weakened by the absence of McNabb, who strained a leg muscle in the Test. Ingal was goalkeeper, and Callaghan outside left. Northern Districts led 2-1 at halftime. Its goals came from a penalty taken by Quill and a beautiful shot bv Lonergan. The Palestine first half goal was scored bv Neufeld and Greenburg scored their second.

August 5 Vs Australia 5th test

With the ashes already in Australia's keeping, Palestine held the national Soccer team to a 4-all draw in the fifth and final Test match today. The visitors made desperate bids for victory in the last few minutes, but the Australian goalkeeper (C.Power) withstood their pressure. Australia opened the scoring after five minutes play, on heavy ground, but Palestine quickly retaliated, and equalised. Several clever moves were made by Palestine, but Australia took command again. Goals came quickly in the first half-hour, and Palestine again drew level. An attack was started by McCluskey,who passed out to Crowhurst. G. Smith headed in when the ball came across,but Mazrahi made a good save. The Palestine custodian made another grand save when Crowhurst shot, and White then drove wide from close range. Just on half-time Power made a wonderful save from Alembik, but was beaten with a return shot from Neufeld. At the- Interval Palestine led 4-2.On the resumption Australia went away at great pace. Forrest passed into the goal mouth, and G. Smith guided Into the net. Australia hammered away for the equaliser, but White's shot wentwide.

Forrest won a free kick who laid the ball off to White. White drove hard into the corner of the net earning Australia a draw. Scorers.— For Australia, G. Smith (2), White and Hughes. For Palestine, Ginsberg, Neufeld, Werner and Fuchs.

August 7 Vs Victoria

A last minute goal by Forrest gave Victoria the edge in a 4-3 victory. A feature of the match was the very clever defence play of Mackey an international full back for Victoria, he stopped opponents with remarkable consistency.

August 12 Vs South Australia

Palestine beat South Australia by 4 goals to 2 at Hindmarsh Oval this afternoon in the first of the two matches to be played in Adelaide by the touring side. Australia held their own in the first but after the interval were worn down by superior combination .Outstanding player on the field was A. Curlis, the young South Australian goalkeeper. He repeatedly made brilliant saves to hard-driven shots, putting up a performance which thrilled the crowd of 2,000.

After the match the Palestine manager (Mr. Arazi) said that with the exception of J. McNabb, the Australian best player. Curlis was the best goalkeeper the visitors had found in Australia.

August 16 Vs South Australia

The second soccer match between South Australia and Palestine at the Adelaide Oval yesterday was won by the visitors by eight goals to nil, thus showing the lamentable condition of South Australia in the soccer world. The six alterations in the team which played on Saturday did not improve, but rather tended to weaken the team. Tbe visitors were superior individually and as a team at every point of the game. They passed a ball to within inches at the man for whom it was intended, compared with yards for the local players.

After changing ends South Australia had the advantage of wind and sun but Palestine continued to hold the upper hand, and it was seldom that South Australia got within shooting distance of goal. Spasmodic runs by the South Australian forwards enlivened proceedings at intervals, but it was evident that South Australia was hopelessly beaten.

August 26 Vs West Australia

Palestine and Western Australia drew — 4 goals each— in today's international soccer match at Subiaco Oval

W.A.: Dean (goal). Henderson and Martin (backs); Lynch, Walmsley and Charlton (half-backs); Bernie, Smith, Waddell, Conduit and Hertz

In a quickly-changing game in wbicolirotty football was the order of the day, Western Australia was leading 3 goals to 2 at half-time. The State side assumed shock tactics from the outset and within 60 seconds of the opening of play Western Australia's first goal was scored. From a clearance by Dean, the ball was collected by Waddell, who beat the full back, and slipped the ball past the goalkeeper Mizrahi, who had run out to intercept the Caledonians' centre forward. After 20 minutes of play, Walmsley collected and sent to Hertz. Hertz furthered the movement to Conduit, who beat the goalkeeper with a nice shot.

Later Palestine reduced the deficit when Werner cleverly tricked Henderson and Martin in the back line,and beat Dean, who ran out to clear. W.A. attacking consistently along the left wing, were beating Palestine at their own short passing game. With five minutes left to play in the first half. Smith took a long ground shot and beat the goalie, who flung himself full length in an effort to save. One minute later, Palestine cut down the leeway to goal after Henderson beat Neufeld in front of the net. Ball the rebounded and was hit hard back into the net giving Dean no chance.

On resuming, Palestine attacked from the kick off and evened the scores. Dean was, perhaps, unsighted but he certainly did not anticipate the next, which came again from the kickoff. This put Palestine in the lead, and it took 30 minutes of hard play for W.A to again equalise. Hertz, who had been doing some fine work, collected the ball and centred for Conduit who slammed the ball home.

August 28 Vs West Australia


Palestine's Brilliant Exhibition.

In the return match between Palestine and Western Australia held at Sublaco Oval yesterday afternoon, the State team was completely outclassed in every department of the game, with the exceptlon of the goalkeeper, Young, who gave an Impressive exhibition.

At half-time Western Australia had failed to score, while the visitors had registered two goals. In the second half Western Australia showed improved form and for about 20 minutes controlled the game, but the Palestine team regained the ascendancy, the final score being 7-3 in Palestine's favour.

Young was the outstanding player for the State, while Conduit and Lynch performed capably. There were two last minute changes in the State side,Young replacing Dean in goals and Smethurst substituting for Walmsley at centre-half.

From the commencement It was apparent that Palestine was not going to permit Western Australia to adopt the same tactics as on Saturday when It registered two goals within the first 20 minutes o fplay and kept the ball well up in Western Australia's half. Twice Young saved what appeared certain goals-short-range shots throwing himself full-length to clear and, although Henderson and Thompson robbed the forwards of the ball on many occasions, Palestine continued to attack and in the first 30 minutes' play Young was called upon continuously.

Palestine had the advantage of a strong wind which was blowing down the centre of the field and gave a brilliant exhibition of short, fast passing, running through the field with well-timed placements. Palestine's first goal came from a pretty movement after 30 minutes' play when Fuchs passed to Werner, who ran around Smethurst and placed for the centre forward, Greenburg, to score. Further clever movements followed before Western Australia went into attack and Martin,right-half, passed to Hertz on the right wing. Hertz ran down the wing and crossed to Conduit whose attempt at heading was deflected by the Palestine goalkeeper.

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