Arab and Jewish neighbours say no to racism25 May 2012

An event bringing together Arab and Jewish young people from neighbouring cities in Israel has taken place against a background of recent incidents of racism and tensions in Israeli professional football.

The event, ‘Moving Forward Together, Joint Living’ united young people from the neighbouring cities of Tayibe and Petach Tikvah in north east Israel.

The event organised by FARE member New Israel Fund was supported by the Israel FA and local clubs Hapoel Petach Tikvah and MS Tzayirei Tayibe and drew leading public figures and supporters from the two towns.

Mixed teams
Tayibe and Petach Tikvah are an Arab and a Jewish city with populations of 45,000 and 200,000 respectively. The youngsters were invited to play a tournament in mixed teams and took part in workshops about the destructiveness of racism and violence. Yaniv Luzon, Guy Tzarfati and Piraeus Mograhbi, players from Israel’s top division club gave their support to the event.

The event took place at a time when Israeli football has seen a number of ugly incidents in recent weeks involving several clubs of Israel’s top league.

Cause for Optimism
Ori Shilo, a Director of the Israeli FA said, “Events like these give cause for optimism. We won't give in to anyone. These activities promote coexistence and being a good citizen is just as important as being a good player.”

Ahmed Saba, an Arab player on the Jewish team Maccabi Netanya said, “There shouldn't be racism in football or anywhere else. We have to set an example and bring about cooperation between Jews and Arabs.”

Hapoel Petach Tikvah manager Gili Landau said, “Football shows that Jews and Arabs can join together to achieve joint goals.”

Watch a clip of the event on youtube.com

For more information about New Israel Fund and its campaign ‘Kick Racism Out of Israeli Football” see