web analytics
December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘soccer’

Beitar Jerusalem Announces Shabbat Ban on Soccer Games

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

The Beitar Jerusalem soccer team announced that it will stop playing on Shabbat in order to allow its religious and traditional fans to attend team home games.

Home games will be held on Saturday nights or weekdays, according to the announcement by the team’s new owner Eli Tabib.

Beitar Jerusalem made headlines earlier this year when the signing of two Chechen Muslims, leading to fan protests and the torching of the team’s trophy room. Fans also attacked several Arabs at Jerusalem’s Malha Mall earlier this year.

Israel Gives up ‘HaTikvah’ Anthem for the Sake of Peres’ Peace

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Israel set itself up for humiliation last week by staging a visit of the Barcelona soccer team at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield stadium without the playing of the HaTikvah national anthem.

The visit was headlined around the world as another effort by the Peres Peace Center to try to convince itself that the Palestinian Authority really wants co-existence with Israel. The soccer team also played in Bethlehem, where the Palestinian Authority anthem was sung, according to the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharonot  newspaper.

Obviously, the Israeli anthem would be sung in Tel Aviv, Israel’s capital according to the entire world outside of Israel, but it was not so obvious to the office of President Shimon Peres and the Foreign  Ministry.

Before the game in Tel Aviv, a meeting was held at the stadium, where representatives from other governments said that if the Israeli anthem were to played, then the same honor would have to be extended to the Palestinian Authority , Spain and an autonomous community of Spain, with the official status of a nationality.

“After discussions with the production team and the Foreign Ministry it was said that said it would be unpleasant,” senior officials from the office of President Peres reasoned. After all, playing four anthems would drag things out a bit, so they got by with playing only the Catalan anthem.

But why didn’t the same reasoning apply when the Barcelona team played in Bethlehem?

No one really had an answer for that, but it can be assumed that the Palestinian Authority would have threatened to cancel the soccer team’s visit if anyone had dared even mentioning the word HaTikvah.

Israel, of course, is always ready to make peace, and who needs a Zionist anthem anyway? That would only contradict  chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s terms for peace.

So even though organizers had agreed for it to be sung in Tel Aviv and even though singer David D’or was to sing HaTikvah, the announcement arrived that that it was cancelled.

Education Minister Shai Piron, of the Yesh Atid party, was not so condescending and announced that his ministry would not pay its share of 1 million shekels to finance the visit.

“If there is someone whose feelings are hurt hearing the Israeli national anthem, then they shouldn’t come at all,” ministry officials told the newspaper. “It is first-class chutzpah to come to the heart of Tel Aviv and then ask us not to play our anthem. And it is even a greater audacity by the organizers and the people of the Peres Center that they lowered their heads and agreed to it. It’s a scandal that would not have  passed quietly in  any civilized country. “

Egyptian Agreed to Play in Israel for Swiss Soccer Squad

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

An Egyptian player for a Swiss soccer team agreed to travel to Israel for a qualifying match after first refusing for political reasons.

Mohamed Salah joined the Football Club Basel for its UEFA Champions League qualifying game against Maccabi Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening. Salah, 21, reportedly changed his mind after meeting with team officials. He has been under pressure from his fellow countrymen to boycott the match.

“I will fly to Israel,” he said in a statement. “Football is more important than politics and it is my job.

“In my thoughts I am going to play in Palestine and not Israel, and I am also going to score and win there. The Zionist flag won’t be shown in the Champions League.”

In the first match between the two teams, which Basel won 1-0, Salah avoided shaking hands with members of the Israeli team, which includes Israeli-Arabs.

Soccer Fans Follow Barcelona Team from Hotel to Western Wall

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Dozens of soccer fans booked rooms Sunday night in Jerusalem’s Inbal Hotel, where the FC Barcelona team was staying, to meet the players and then follow them to the Western Wall Monday morning as the team wrapped up their tour of Israel.

The fans cheered them at the hotel desk and asked for autographs while others waited outside for the team, which spent the night and ate three meals, tailor made for athletes’ specific dietary requirements, at the five-star hotel.

More than 100 rooms were set aside for the players, coaches, staff and families, who stayed on separate floors.

Bruno De Schuyter, general manager at the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel, said, “We are very proud for the opportunity to host the best football team in the world and being able to give them a five-star deluxe level of service. We were glad to have given them the variety of services requested, including healthy, balanced meals, and a full access to the gym and spa facilities of the hotel, that have been used by team management and crew members.”

Inbal , which overlooks the Old City Walls, said that the club and Comtec, the company producing the visit, picked the hotel out of all of the five-star hotels in Jerusalem due to its ability to meet the strict requirements and its level of service.

FIFA’s Stony Silence on Soccer Field Launchers (Video)

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

The international FIFA soccer association totally ignored a government presentation Tuesday of Hamas’ using soccer fields to camouflage underground missile launchers and instead delivered a threat that Israel faces expulsion from FIFA if it does not allow free travel to Palestinian Authority soccer players.

Hamas bragged last year about its missiles hidden underneath a Gaza soccer field during Israel’s Pillar of Defense offensive to stop missile attacks that  reached as far north as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hosted FIFA president Joseph Blatter on Tuesday after the soccer official attended the opening of the new offices of the Palestine Football Association in Ramallah.

If Netanyahu thought his visual presentation of missile launchers underneath a soccer field would convince Blatter that perhaps soccer fields are not always what they seem to be, he was sorely mistaken.

The exhibit impressed Blatter about as much as Netanyahu impressed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with his “red line” exhibition on Iran’s nuclear program in the United Nations last year.

The Prime Minister showed Blatter aerial photographs of Fajr-5 missile launchers in the Gaza soccer stadium.

Blatter did not utter a word.

“This is a double war crime,” Netanyahu said. “You’re firing on civilians and you’re hiding behind civilians.”

Blatter did not utter a word.

“We ask FIFA to allow Israel to play fair and not to let the organization and football to be exploited to spread lies,” Netanyahu said.

Blatter did not utter a word.

Netanyahu reminded his visitor that the head of the PA soccer association is Jibril Rajoub, who said earlier this year that, “Gee, I sure wish the Palestinian Authority had a nuclear weapon, because if we did, I would have used it.”

Blatter did not utter a word..

When he did open his mouth, he had this to say: “I will go to defend not only the Palestine Football Association but I will defend the basic principles of FIFA, (which are) to connect people and not to separate people.”

Blatter praised soccer as a way to peace. FIFA’a values are “to recognize each other through football and to live not only in peace but in harmony,” he stated.

Rohani’s Acid Test: Can Women Enter Soccer Stadium?

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Women in Iran are pinning their hopes on Hassan Rohani to pass what would be a sweeping reform in the Islamic Republic – allowing them to enter a soccer stadium.

The issue is not minor in a country where an Iranian sports journalist told Turkey’s Hurriyet News, “In terms of freedom of expression, football stadiums are nearly as important as the Internet in Iran now.”

Rohani’s predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad found out the hard way that allowing women to enter a soccer stadium is frowned upon by Muslim clerics. He announced in 2006 that women could go the stadium, especially when it comes to lavishing praise on the national team after a victory over an enemy, such as the United States.

Has was forced to back down after leading clerics vehemently objected to allowing men and women to come so close together in a public place.

Learning Peace Through Soccer

Monday, May 27th, 2013

The Peres Center for Peace is a non-profit organization which was founded in 1996 with the goal of promoting peace between Palestinians and Israelis at the grassroots level, through people to people interactions. According to project manager Sivan Hendel,

The center is working through all sorts of aspects to bring Jews and Arabs together, in order to break down barriers and build a sustainable future.

One of the ways that the Peres Center for Peace is doing this is through having Palestinian and Israeli children regularly play sports together.

Hendel explained that the Peres Center for Peace twins one Israeli school or group with a Palestinian one through the “Twined Peace and Sports School Program,” which is taking place for its tenth year. Usually, both the Israeli and Palestinian children hail from underprivileged communities, where the children potentially may not have had the chance to partake on a sports team otherwise. The Israeli and Palestinian children train with a local coach within their community twice per week, and then the Israeli and Palestinian children come together once per month for a joint activity. She claims that the children don’t only play sports with one another, but also engage in cultural events and activities that promote peace education.

THE 2013 MINI-MONDIAL

Photo credit: Efrat Saar, Peres Center for Peace

Once per year both Israeli and Palestinian children look forward to Mini-Mondial event, a soccer tournament for children in the program. It includes one mini-mondial for boys and one for girls, with each group consisting of 250 Israeli and Palestinian children. During the mini-mondial, Palestinian and Israeli children are mixed together on the same team and then play against another group of Palestinian and Israeli children that are also part of the same team. However, Hendel explained that the children are not only judged on how well they play soccer. In fact, the largest trophy goes to the children that treat the other children in the group the most respectfully.

Hendel reported that this years’ 2013 Mini-Mondial was a success. Even though language barriers and cultural differences can make things challenging at times, the main thing is that the children enjoyed playing soccer together. Hendel explained, “Once they have one identity and flag they are cheering for, they are proud of this group.” In fact, friendships are forming among the Israeli and Palestinian children as a result of joint events like the 2013 Mini-Mondial.

PALESTINIAN AND ISRAELI REACTIONS

According to Hendel, although the situation varies from child to child, family to family, location to location, and based on the present political situation,

From the evaluating process inside our department, there is a change in the kids mind and their opinions about the other side. The most important result is the fear diminishing and they start to see the other side as human. That is really felt, even in our day to day activities. The biggest problem in our conflict is that people don’t know each other and they demonize the other side.”

Photo Credit: Efrat Saar. Peres Center for Peace.

The parents are also usually very supportive of the program. According to Hendel,

Usually there is no problem at all. Usually the parents want to see their kids play. It’s very nice for them to have a football framework for their kids, so most of them not only approve it, but really support it.

Additionally, the Peres Center for Peace set up a parents group and the parents of the children met together, independent from their children playing sports together.

When asked how sports can be utilized to promote peace between Palestinians and Israelis, Hendel responded,

Sports is an international language. You don’t have to understand them verbally. The moment they go out to pitch; all of the differences disappear. It is very nice to see and feel how through sports they are able to communicate.

Visit United with Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/united-with-israel/learning-peace-through-soccer/2013/05/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: