Squash legend Jonathon Power put on a show while raising money for charity in
Ra’anana on Sunday night.
The 38-year-old Canadian, who retired in March
2006 when he was ranked as the world’s top player, won 36 top-level squash
events during his career, including the World Open in 1998 and the British Open
Power came to Israel on the invitation of Maccabi Tel Aviv
soccer club owner Mitch Goldhar, who also had a short scrimmage with his
countryman during the event from which all the proceeds went to the Make-A-Wish
Foundation of Israel (Mishelet Lev).
Mishelet Lev is the Israeli
affiliate of the international foundation whose sole mission is to grant wishes
to children suffering from life-threatening illnesses between the ages of
Power, who also played some of Israel’s top squash players while
performing trick shots which enthralled the crowd, arrived in the country on
Saturday, stopping over for three days between other squash commitments in
Pakistan and England.
“I was talking to Mitch about having to travel to
Pakistan before going to England and that I had time to kill in Europe,” Power
“He said that he will be in Israel at that time with the soccer
“The timing worked out beautifully and I’d never been to Israel and
always wanted to go.
“It was a great opportunity to kick that off my list
and get to see Israel this way and promote squash while helping a good
Power, who will already be leaving Israel on Monday, has
thoroughly enjoyed his time in the country, even though he was given an
unpleasant welcome by border control upon his arrival at Ben-Gurion
“I came off and they took me to the back room and made me wait
for a while,” Power said.
“Eventually, they brought me in for a proper
interview and they looked on the internet and saw who I was and I showed them my
invitation from Mitch so they started to get that I was here for a good
Despite being delayed for an hour-and-a-half, Power said that
the ordeal at the airport didn’t sour his impression of Israel and Goldhar is
hoping that his experience in the country could eventually help Jewish-Muslim
“He is so familiar with the non-Jewish world and has such
credibility in these countries that I thought it would be helpful for us and a
positive thing for him to come to Israel,” said Goldhar, who has also worked
with the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Canada.
“I decided a long time ago to
focus on children’s charities. This is something they are doing all over
the world, including Canada, which I’m familiar with.”
Squash has always
been a peripheral sport in Israel, but Power believes that can change in the
“In most of the world squash has an elitist connotation but it
isn’t an expensive sport to play,” he said.
“It’s the most physical sport
out there and is perfect for the modern world.
“You burn more calories
playing squash than any other sport.
“There are so many reasons why I
think that in the next 10-15 years squash will become a trend and a sport of the
“In the modern world time is limited and exercise is needed and
squash is the perfect marriage of that.”