The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is making dreams come true for hundreds of Bedouin children in the framework of "Cycling in Fellowship in the Desert." Some 120 teenagers from the Abu Basma Regional Council were among the many Israelis that took part as equals in the challenging cycling event on Saturday, May 15, using the bikes they received as gifts on Passover.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, donated 800 all-terrain bikes to the eighth grade Bedouin children in the Abu Basma region. Six weeks later, 120 of these eighth graders were able to test them out for real for the first time at the Wheels of Hope event in the Jezreel Valley, organized by the NPO Etgarim. These teenagers joined some 10,000 other Israeli riders to cycle 55 kilometers, at the event to aid Etgarim.
'Tremendous experience' (Photo: Shai Giterman)
The students' participation is a direct continuation of the "Cycling in Fellowship in the Desert" project that was launched over Passover, with the help of the Bikes4All project of the Israeli Cycling Federation. Bikes4All helps children from all socio-economic backgrounds to become acquainted with the biking world and gain educational values that are part of the biking experience - such as love of country and nature, development of social skills, physical development, contribution to society and more. The 120 teenagers chosen for the Etgarim event were driven to the Jezreel Valley the night before and slept in the area in order to be able to begin peddling at first light.
This is the first among many popular cycling events that include youngsters from the Bedouin community as well as Israelis of all backgrounds and ethnicities. "The teens had a tremendous experience as they rode in the Jezreel Valley, so far from home, and met riders from all parts of the country and enjoyed the healthy sports environment and activities," the Israel Cycling Federation said.
The Wheels of Hope event raises money for the Etgarim non-profit organization which enables people with special needs to take part in sports activities. It is one of the biggest cycling events in Israel, and included three different routes. This year, a record 10,000 children, adults, and people with special needs took part.
"The event certainly fulfilled the vision of Etgarim to enable those with special needs to take part in society. All the proceeds from the event went to Etgarim for the purpose of opening two cycling clubs – especially for people with special needs in Akko and Netanya," according to the Israel Cycling Federation.
For full details about the International Fellowship's "Cycling in Fellowship in the Desert", see www.Bikes4all.org.il