Most Israeli and Palestinian children never interact with one another. Organizers believe that by giving them a chance to play together, they will be less likely to develop stereotypes as adults. Through the game of soccer, young children are able to learn values of tolerance and respect for one another.
The event was attended by several players from Hapoel Tel Aviv, including the team's captain Walid Badir, Maaran Lala, Bibras Natkho, Omri Canada and Eden Ben Basat. It was a great thrill for the kids to spend an afternoon with professional athletes they admire. Following the tournament, the kids were taken on a cruise.
The kids with Hapoel Tel Aviv captain Walid Badir (Photo: Tahel Azulai)
One of the Palestinian children commented, “I hope I will meet Israeli kids and play with them, until now I thought everybody was the same, but after we started this activity I understand there are some Jewish kids that are different".
Walid Badir adde, "It's a great experience to see Arabs and Israelis playing together...it's a holy day for the children and the Israeli country. I hope in the future there will be real peace and we'll live together."
The Hapoel Tel Aviv Educational Enterprise is a non-profit organization that was founded 12 years ago. Since that time, over 25,000 Israeli and Palestinian children have been brought together to play soccer.
In recent years, soccer clubs have been founded in eight villages within the Palestinian territory. Over 400 kids have taken part in the soccer and educational activities conducted in these villages. All programs offered by Hapoel Tel Aviv Educational Enterprise, are free of charge. This gives all kids the opportunity to play soccer and get to know their neighbors.
Hopefully, graduates of this program will become the future leaders of a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace.