Dialogue through Activity
The Arab and Jewish youth of Israel’s mixed cities see each other every day, but their meetings rarely go beyond football games and gymnastics competitions. In an effort to narrow the social, cultural, and political gaps between the two alienated groups of teens, CAF introduced in 2012 a Youth Sport's program into its already successful Youth in Mixed Cities program.
Since sports teams and programs promote cooperation, communication, camaraderie, fairness, and leadership, they are also an ideal forum for dialogue, conflict transformation, and coexistence among young Arabs and Jews in Israel. In partnership with the Arab-Jewish Community Center in Jaffa (AJCC) and with the financial support of the Israeli government, the Youth Sports in Israel's Mixed Cities program introduced the core principles of "shared society" and "living together" into sports areas in the mixed cities of Jaffa, Akko, Lod, and Ramla.
This program translated the young athletes’ pursuits of excellence and responsibility on the field into a unified team spirit that motivates the youth in these cities to play sports together, become friends, and discuss conflict and coexistence. The program used team spirit to build solidarity and empathy so that young participants can help establish peace and understanding in mixed cities and throughout the State of Israel.
The project was formally launched in July 2012 with a kick-off event attended by then Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, Yuli Edelstein, and Chairman of the Israel Football Players Association, Haim Revivo. Some events encompassed by this program include the Joint Sports Activity at the 2012 Jaffa Convention; the Jaffa Gymnestrada in December 2012, which was a colorful performance of Jewish and Arab sports, dance, martial arts, and acrobatic teams from all over the country; and Tolerance Day (Wahad Youm) in Akko held in January 2013 that featured sports, music, and dance activities organized by members of the Youth Parliament of Akko for their two local high schools.
The project was conducted with the support of the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, and enjoyed the cooperation of local sports teams and athletes.