While football was played in the area of Mandatory Palestine prior to the arrival of the British in World War I, it received a huge boost in terms of popularity and stature during the inter-war years. A national football association was formed, overseeing teams of Jews, Arabs, and an array of other groups in the country. Organized games and playoffs drew large crowds and a "national" team even played against other countries including neighboring Lebanon and Egypt. Despite off the field tensions, organized matches were generally played in the spirit of good sportsmanship, with few exceptions. Visiting teams comprised of members of other communities were even often enthusiastically welcomed by their hosts and the home fans.
Despite the general positive atmosphere in which football was played during this period, there were also trying times. On a number of occasions league play was stopped due to political reasons, while on other occasions Arab teams left the league claiming unfair management by its Jewish administrators. Nonetheless, perhaps much can be learned from organized football during the Mandate period, which showed that despite deep-seated political and ideological rifts, certain realms, such as sport, can serve to promote cooperation and coexistence as opposed to violence and strife. The exhibition, an initiative of Yoram E. Shamir and Rotem Kislev who curated its items from the National Library's "Time Travel" Israeli Ephemera Collection
, is available in English, Hebrew and Arabic.