In a special ceremony during half-time at the State Cup Final in Jerusalem, Kick it Out – in collaboration with the Israel Football Association – awarded $25,000 in grants to grassroots Israeli initiatives using soccer to promote shared society, coexistence, and tolerance.
The ceremony was witnessed by tens of thousands of spectators including President Reuven Rivlin. The first round of awards were given during the semi-finals, and the next round is planned for the start of the new soccer season in August.
Also last week, Kick it Out premiered a new inspiring video for the Team of Equals, which brings together Jewish children from West Jerusalem and Arab children from East Jerusalem.
The team is a joint partnership between Hapoel Katamon and the Beit Safafa Football Academy, and is sponsored by Kick it Out. Everything is run on the basis of full equality and joint decision-making. No other Israeli team is run like this. Earlier this year, the team visited the Knesset, where they met members of the coalition and the opposition.
The winners were:
- Maccabi Dalyat al-Karmel/Yokneam – a team of Druze, Muslims, and Jews from neighbouring towns near Haifa.
- Hapoel Rovi Shapira Haifa – a youth team run by fans of Hapoel Haifa including players from the city’s different communities.
- Bnei Zamir – a project that brings together Jewish and Arab children in the triangle region, northeast of Tel Aviv.
- Hapoel Tel Aviv Youth Division – to support a tournament for six mixed Jewish-Arab teams.
- Hapoel Katamon – to support the State Cup for Women (Youth) championship between Hapoel Katamon and Bnei Sakhnin, a Jewish team and an Arab team.
- Abu Tor/El-Thuri – a project to improve relations in a mixed Jewish-Arab neighbourhood in Jerusalem.
- S Ashkelon – a team whose players come from the Ethiopian community.
- Hapoel Oranit – Third Division football team that have joint training with children from Kafr Qasim and Jaljulia.
- Maccabi Tel Aviv and Tayibe Youth – for cooperation between the clubs.
- Maccabi Achi Ar’ara – to present lectures and signs against violence and for the acceptance of the other.
- Alexander Stream charity – to create a football pitch for a mixed group of children from Ha’sharon and the
- The football state – to establish an amateur football project to promote shared society in Lod.
- The Megido peace and brotherhood sport club – to have an on-going activity for Arab and Jewish children.
This initiative is expected to continue also in the next year’s football league.