Mandatory Palestine national football team

The Mandatory Palestine national football team, also known as the Eretz Israel national football team (Hebrew: נבחרת ארץ ישראל בכדורגל‎, romanizedNivheret Eretz Yisrael Bekhadurgel, lit. 'Land of Israel national football team'), represented the British Mandate of Palestine in international football competitions, and was managed by the Palestine Football Association (Hebrew: התאחדות ארץ ישראלית למשחק כדור-רגל‎, romanizedHitachduth Eretz Yisraelit Lekhadur Regel, lit. 'The Land of Israel Association of Football').[a]

Mandatory Palestine
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Eretz Israel
(Land of Israel)
AssociationPalestine Football Association (PFA)
Head coachShimon Ratner (1934 WCQ)
Egon Pollak (1938 WCQ)
Arthur Baar (1940 Friendly)
CaptainAvraham Reznik (1934–1938)
Pinhas Fiedler (1934)
Gdalyahu Fuchs (1938)
Werner Kaspi (1940)
Most capsGdalyahu Fuchs (4)
Top scorerWerner Kaspi (2)
Home stadiumHapoel Ground, Tel Aviv
Maccabiah Stadium, Tel Aviv
Maccabi Ground, Tel Aviv
First colours
First international
 Egypt 7–1 Mandatory Palestine 
(Cairo, Egypt; 16 March 1934)
Last international
 Mandatory Palestine 5–1 Lebanon 
(Tel Aviv, Mandatory Palestine; 27 April 1940)
Biggest win
 Mandatory Palestine 5–1 Lebanon 
(Tel Aviv, Mandatory Palestine; 27 April 1940)
Biggest defeat
 Egypt 7–1 Mandatory Palestine 
(Cairo, Egypt; 16 March 1934)

Founded in 1928, the Palestine Football Association became a member of FIFA in 1929. The team used to play in the Maccabiah Stadium and Hapoel Ground, both located in Tel Aviv. Mandatory Palestine played five official games (four FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and one friendly), before it officially became the national team of Israel in 1948.


Mandatory Palestine during its tour in Egypt in 1931.

Football was introduced to Palestine by the British military during its occupation of the territory in World War I. After the war, the sport's development was continued by "European Jews who had been exposed to soccer in their native countries".[1] The Palestine Football Association was founded in August 1928 and applied for membership in FIFA. It was accepted to FIFA on 6 June 1929 as the Palestine Football Association, following an application by the Jewish Maccabi World Union.[2][3] It was the first of 14 sports organizations which absorbed hundreds of leading sportsmen who immigrated in the wake of antisemitism in Europe.[4]

By FIFA rules, the association had to represent all of Palestine's population, and it made formal claims to that effect. In practice, it was dominated by Jewish players and executives, despite Palestinian Arabs forming the majority of the population.[5]

According to Issam Khalidi, "the Jewish leadership" of the association systematically limited Arab participation by ensuring Jewish clubs constituted its majority, imposing Hebrew for official communication, and adding the Zionist flag in its logo.[6] Consequently, the Palestinian Arab players boycotted the national team and, in 1934, the Arab clubs left the association to form the General Palestinian Sports Association,[5] from which Jews were formally excluded.[7][b]

Mandatory Palestine played five international games before the end of the British Mandate in 1948 which resulted in Israel's independence.[9] During those five games, the national team fielded only Jewish players. Three anthems were played before each match: the British "God Save the King", the Jewish (and future Israeli) "Hatikvah" and the opposing team's anthem.[10]

In 1948 the team became, officially, the national team of Israel.


1934 FIFA World Cup qualificationEdit

Coaches:   Egon Pollak and   Shimon Ratner[11]

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Club
1GK Willy Berger  

2DF Avraham Reznik  
2DF Pinhas Fiedler  

3MF Zalman Friedmann  
3MF Gdalyahu Fuchs  
3MF Yohanan Sukenik  

4FW Amnon Harlap  
4FW Avraham Nudelman  

Perry Kraus  
Paul Kastenbaum  
Haim Reich  
David Weinberg  
Yaacov Levi-Meir  
Yaacov Zelibanski  

1938 FIFA World Cup qualificationEdit

Coach:   Egon Pollak[11]

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Club
1 1GK Julius Klein  
1GK Israel Elsner  

2 2DF Avraham Beit-Halevi  
3 2DF Avraham Reznik (Captain)  

4 3MF Yosef Liebermann  
5 3MF Yohanan Sukenik  
6 3MF Menahem Mirmovich  
3MF Gdalyahu Fuchs  

7 4FW Shmuel "Mila" Ginzburg  
8 4FW Shuka Brashedski  
9 4FW Peri Neufeld  
10 4FW Gaul Machlis  
11 4FW Avraham Nudelman  
4FW Yona Stern  
4FW Jerry Beit-Halevi  
4FW Nathan Pentzi  

1940 friendlyEdit

Coach:   Arthur Baar[11]

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Club
1GK Binyamin Mizrahi   Beitar Tel Aviv
1GK Asi Asher   Hakoah Tel Aviv

2DF Shalom Shalomzon   Maccabi Tel Aviv
2DF Yaacov Breir   Hapoel Haifa
2DF Lonia Dvorin   Beitar Tel Aviv

3MF Zalman "Dzampa" Friedmann   Hapoel Tel Aviv
3MF Zvi Fuchs   Maccabi Tel Aviv
3MF Haim Reich   Hapoel Tel Aviv

4FW Herbert Meitner   Hapoel Rishon
4FW Zvi "Doctor" Erlich   Hapoel Tel Aviv
4FW Werner Kaspi (Captain)   Beitar Tel Aviv
4FW Avraham Schneiderowitz   Maccabi Nes Tziona
4FW Gaul Machlis   Maccabi Tel Aviv
4FW Peri Neufeld   Maccabi Tel Aviv

FIFA World Cup recordEdit

Mandatory Palestine's FIFA World Cup record Qualification record
Host nation(s)
and year
Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA Squad Outcome Pld W D L GF GA
  1930 Did not participate Did not participate
  1934 Did not qualify 2nd of 2 2 0 0 2 2 11
  1938 2nd of 2 2 0 0 2 1 4
1950–present See Israel national football team See Israel national football team
Total Best: N/A 0/3 0 0 0 0 0 0 Total 4 0 0 4 3 15


16 March 1934 1934 FIFA World Cup qualificationEgypt  7–1  Mandatory PalestineCairo, Egypt
Stadium: British Army Ground
Attendance: 13,000
Referee: Stanley Wells (England)
6 April 1934 1934 FIFA World Cup qualificationMandatory Palestine  1–4  EgyptTel Aviv, Mandatory Palestine
Stadium: Hapoel Ground
Attendance: 8,000
Referee: Frederick John Goodsby (England)

27 April 1940 FriendlyMandatory Palestine  5–1  LebanonTel Aviv, Mandatory Palestine
16:00 UTC+3
Stadium: Maccabiah Stadium
Attendance: 10,000
Referee: John Blackwell (England)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ According to the Israel Football Association, the name of the association was "Eretz Israel Football Association".[1]
  2. ^ Richard Henshaw's encyclopaedia also noted that "Islamic beliefs throughout the Arab world resisted Western cultural institutions such as soccer until well after World War II, by which time Arab participation in the development of Israeli soccer was nearly impossible."[8]


  1. ^ a b Henshaw 1979, p. 387.
  2. ^ Foundation and Affiliation year in Association Information of Israel at FIFA official website
  3. ^ Foundation and FIFA affiliation years on association information of Israel at UEFA website
  4. ^ Griver, Simon (June 1999). "Sports in Israel". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Archived from the original on 22 June 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  5. ^ a b Sorek 2003, p. 417–437.
  6. ^ Khalidi, Issam (Spring 2014). "Sports and Aspirations: Football in Palestine, 1900–1948" (PDF). Jerusalem Quarterly (58). pp. 74–89. Retrieved 14 May 2020. Immediately after being accepted into FIFA, the Jewish leadership of the PFA set about ensuring a majority of Jewish clubs in its membership. The Hebrew language was imposed and the Zionist flag incorporated into the federation’s logo. By 1934, the dominance of Zionist officials meant that Arab clubs had no say in the running of the association, despite Arabs comprising over three-quarters of Palestine’s population.
  7. ^ Mendel, Yoni (1 May 2015). "The Palestinian soccer league: A microcosm of a national struggle". +972 Magazine. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  8. ^ Henshaw 1979, p. 386.
  9. ^ Cazal, Jean-Michel; Bleicher, Yaniv. "British Mandate of Palestine Official Games 1934–1948". RSSSF. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  10. ^ Mubarak, Hassanin. "Palestine – International Results – Details". RSSSF. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  11. ^ a b c Cazal, Jean-Michel; Bleicher, Yaniv. "British Mandate of Palestine Official Games 1934–1948". RSSSF. Retrieved 14 May 2020.