READ: A legacy that lives through our Team of Equals programme

 

Building a true shared society needs to start from the ground up. Through everyday interactions, by having fun together and getting to know one another.

We were approached by the family of one of our long-term supporters to explore how we can best align their late father’s gift, left to us in his Will, with his passions and beliefs. Their father was a man who believed passionately in education and in the need to invest in young people now so that we might guarantee the future we all want. For him, this was a future where Israel was a truly shared society. His legacy now lives on through our Team of Equals programme.

This unique grassroots initiative uses football to bring kids and their families from East and West Jerusalem together in a long-term meaningful engagement. The programme works with two football clubs – the Jewish club Hapoel Katamon and the Arab Football Academy of Beit Safafa. Despite the proximity of the clubs and their neighbourhoods, there is typically very little interaction between the populations. Through the Team of Equals, this is now changing. We now have two teams, a boys’ and girls’ team of 30 participants each aged 12- 13, approximately half of whom are Jewish and half Arab. The unique model offers coaching in two languages with Arab and Jewish coaches, joint Jewish-Arab teams and a budget divided equally between the Jewish and Arab parent clubs.

This model has gained major media coverage, and a year ago, the team was invited to the Knesset (Israeli Parliament). At the meeting between the team and Knesset members, one of the Arab boys asked why Jews and Arabs have to live in such hatred and suffer from the conflict when the boys on the team get along so well…
This incredible legacy gift is creating a generation of young Jews and Arabs who will grow up to be active members of a shared society.