The Maccabiyah Games – a sportive best regards from the fifties

In the 1950's, the first decade of Israel, the Maccabiyah games was celebrated with special pomp. The IDF was an active partner, and Ba'Mahane the IDF's weekly magazine reported diligently, from the field, to the populace.

The photographs in the exhibition are published for the first time after being scanned at The IDF and Defense Establishment Archive. Most are accompanied by the original texts, written by A. Heled and Amos Lev, Ba'Mahane reporters at the time. ​​

The beginning

The first Maccabiyah games took place in 1932 at the initiative of the Maccabee World Union, aiming to strengthen relations among World Jewry. A stadium was built on the Yarkon estuary, to serve the competitions.

The second Maccabiyah took place in 1935, unlike the four years between Olympic Games. This time it gained the moniker "The Aliyah Maccabiyah," since some athletes and their entourage stayed in the country in defiance of the White Book rules. The third Maccabiyah, in 1938, was postponed due to the tense situation in Europe on the eve of the Second World War.

It should be noted that in 1936 the infamous Olympic Games took place in Hitler's Berlin.

For a decade, no Maccabiyah games took place due to the Second World War and the struggle to establish the Jewish state.

The third and fourth Maccabiyah games took place in the 1950's, in celebration of our independence and existence as a political entity, equal to all states in the world. During the fourth Maccabiyah games, all attention in Israel was focused on the games, winners and losers, achievements, gold, silver and bronze medals, and tributes. 

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