Israel’s football association has teamed up with the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation to bond Arab and Jewish Israeli children through the sport.
The programme, which includes Jewish children learning Arabic and Arab children learning Hebrew, will operate across schools throughout the country. Children will play in mixed teams, with Arabs and Jews on the same side.
Furthermore it will utilise the Peres Center’s “fair play” methodology, whereby players play without a referee. They must determine the rules of the game themselves and likewise they must resolve any differences as a group.
“We believe that it is possible to play together, to live together, to cooperate and to build a better tomorrow and not to lose hope,” said Chemi Peres, chairman of the Peres Center and son of the late Israeli president Shimon Peres.
“If my father were alive, he would tell you not to listen to others, but to look inside yourself, and find the power within you to make a difference.”
Moshe Zuaretz, chair of the Israel Football Association, said: “We want to be partners to the revolution, no less. Combining education, sport and technology will guarantee the development of a common, cross-sectoral, cross-language foundation that will ensure a better present and future for all.”