|A flyer discussing Rav Kook's position on playing soccer on the Sabbath, which was issued as an addition to Kol Yisrael, Gilayon 3, and listed as having been copied from Do'ar HaYom Gilayon 23.
The statement was issued on the request of HaMaccabi-Hashmonai after a demonstration against playing sports on the Sabbath. It all began on the 24th of Tishrei when mobs of people tried to enter the field without tickets. They were prevented from doing so and the game continued without interruption. From the newspapers it became known that this mob was sent by the Rabbanut in order to disturb the sporting activity on the Sabbath. After this a representative of the Maccabi-Hashmonai visited Chief Rabbi Kook. The author of this flyer also visited the Rav, on a private basis after the Sabbath. In the conversation Rav Kook, who was not one for scandals, agreed that it had been a mistake to barge in.
The members of Maccabi-Hasmonai asserted that they would everything in their power to make sure that there was no Hilul Shabbat in the area of the playing field. Ticket would be sold ahead of time on a weekday, smoking would be forbidden, etc and moveover the Hamaakabi would try to find a more fitting solution to the problem.
Rav Kook responded that sport is a holy thing, and that the HaMakkabi movement is one of the important basics of the renewal… The flyer continues with details of the conversation, and it is signed Yosef Yekutieli.
The concept of the Maccabiah Games was the brainchild of 15-year old Russian-born Yosef Yekutieli. The Eretz Yisroel teenager so energized by news of the 1912 Olympic Games that he conceived the fanciful notion of a worldwide Olympics for Jewish athletes in Palestine. With little encouragement, and not a small amount of ridicule, Yekutieli spent the next ten years developing details of his unique idea.
In 1928, Yekutieli presented his far-fetched proposal to the Jewish National Fund, with the notion that the Maccabiah Games be organized to commemorate the 1800th anniversary of the Bar Kochba Rebellion (Jewish revolt against the Romans).
Coincidentally, the Maccabi organization was, at the same time, formulating ideas to provide a means of participation by athletes living in the British Mandate of Palestine in important international sporting events; one that would also act as a form of international recognition of Palestine as the Jewish National Home.
Yekutieli’s Maccabiada, as the Games were originally called, was the right idea at the right time. With the hechture of the Eretz Israel Soccer Association, other Holy Land sports groups fell in line to give the proposed Games their blessings.