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The team. One man's dream
Photo: Yahav Alon
Israeli, Jordanian kids take to soccer pitch
Eilat resident's vision of coexistence realized through formation of joint Israeli-Jordanian children's soccer team, with Aqaba school kids regularly crossing border to train with Rabin High School comrades. Team's volunteer coach Ibrahim Abu Rkeik describes project in one word: 'Amazing'

At a time of raging violence, these young players taking to an Eilat soccer pitch provide an inkling of hope for a better future. It's the dream of one man – Dov Sheref, to open the gates for ties between Israeli and Jordanian children through sport.

 

The Eilat resident embarked on his vision by contacting the Rabin High School in his city, headed by Simha Harel, and the Rosary Sisters School of neighboring Aqaba.

 

To this end he joined the Italian ICU organization and the Jordanian Messengers of Peace association, and the Jordanian soccer players began to cross the border into Eilat and train with their comrades in the southern Israeli city, proving Sheref's vision that there truly is another way.

 

Sheref recruited the coach of Bnei Eilat soccer team Ibrahim Abu Rkeik to take the team of 12-year-old forward.


Team of Israeli, Jordanian children in Eilat (Photo: Yahav Alon)

 

Abu Rkeik perfected his soccer skills in Spain, and is known for putting his heart and soul into any project he undertakes, which can only mean a recipe for success.

 

"It's easy for me to connect with the whole project personally, Abu Rkeik said, "I truly love anything to do with connecting people of different cultures. Since I speak Arabic, I connected with the Jordanian children very quickly and I am very pleased."

 

When asked what he thinks of the project, he said, "In a word: Amazing. It warms the heart to see all the people involved in it. You do little things for the kids, but at the end of the day these are great things for us. There are some very good people on the other side of the border.

 

"The project that Dov Sheref has been working on for many years is yielding its fruits today. Be it cooperation in plays, theaters, or other activities. I am here completely voluntarily, with the faith that these things do only good, and I think that if each person gave a little more, we would reach great wholeness."

 

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