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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘soccer’

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.

Israeli Soccer Team to Play in NY for First Time in Decades

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Israel’s national soccer team will be making its first New York appearance in decades for a match against Honduras at Citi Field on June 2.

The match will coincide with New York’s annual Celebrate Israel parade, according to an announcement on Tuesday by the New York Mets, who play at the Queens ballpark.

It will be Israel’s first New York appearance in 35 years.

Greek Soccer Player Gets Life Ban for Nazi Salute

Monday, March 18th, 2013

A Greek soccer player has been banned for life from playing for the national team after giving the Nazi salute during a game.

Giorgos Katidis, 20, who plays for the AEK Athens team, gave the salute after scoring the winning goal in a match on March 15, the same day Greek Jews marked the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the Thessaloniki Jewish community to Auschwitz.

The Greek soccer federation on Sunday barred Katidis from playing for the national team for life, saying that the Nazi salute was a “severe provocation” and an insult to “all the victims of Nazi barbarity.”

Katidis, who used to play for a Thessaloniki team, claimed he was unaware of the meaning of the salute and apologized for his act. “I am not a racist,” he said in a message on Twitter.

In recent months Greece has seen an upsurge in such incidents with the rise of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, whose members and leaders often give the salutes and employ other Nazi imagery

Speaking at a ceremony on Sunday to mark the deportation of the Thessaloniki Jews, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras vowed to take a harsher stance against neo-Nazis and racists.

PA Cries ‘Foul,’ Cancels Peres’ ‘Peace Process Soccer Game’

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

The Palestinian Authority has buried another attempt to resurrect the peace process, this time rejecting President Shimon Peres’ proposal for a “peace process soccer game.”

The reason – if you are ready for this – might be funny if it were not true: The suggestion was made without consulting them.

President Peres and the Barcelona’s Barca soccer club president Sandro Rosell pitched the idea last week at a joint press conference.

“A soccer club is also a school. It is educational; it teaches our children to play together despite their difference,” declared the President. “Real peace is between people and not just between governments and as our children love Barcelona, so, too, do children in the Palestinian Authority.”

Rosell added, “We would like, with the Palestinian and Israeli leadership, to promote the idea of a football match for peace. We understand that peace will only be possible if we build confidence, respect and understanding between the two peoples.”

Time out!

“The decision was made without consulting us. They think that it is our obligation to do what the masters of the region demand,” said a straight-faced Jibril Rajoub, director of the Palestinian Authority Football Association.

He made it clear that the idea was great. “This is a good and amazing idea which I love. I really think that sports and soccer can be used to build trust and create peace,” according to Rajoub. The problem apparently is that he did not think of it first.

Furthermore, he said the idea of Israel and PA Arabs playing on the same team against Barcelona is not feasible because “Israel does not even recognize us as a sporting entity.”

For the record, Peres did not demand that the PA side recognize Israel as a “Jewish team.” Rajoub could have seized on that as a precedent for not satisfying Israel’s demand that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Instead, he complained that Israel blocked a FIFA official from arriving in Judea and Samaria and not allowing several PA soccer players to travel from Ramallah to Gaza.

“The “current atmosphere is not appropriate for a match like this,” he concluded in a gross understatement.

As in the diplomatic process, the Palestinian Authority has laid down conditions for the “peace process game.”

The Peres Peace Center still doesn’t give up. Its director Ido Sharir was quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying, “The Palestinians have made requests, some more legitimate than others, and we are trying to deal with that. There are a lot of variables that are out of our control and can affect an initiative like this. But we have a good base [for arranging the match].”

The game is supposed to be played in July, although the question remains, “Which July?

Reminder: the “peace process” was supposed to have concluded several years ago.

Peres Wants ‘Soccer Game for Peace’ with Israel and PA vs. Spain

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

President Shimon Peres and the head of the Barcelona soccer club announced on Thursday a special soccer match for peace that will include players from the Palestinian Authority.

President Peres told club president Sandro Rosell at a press conference, “I am delighted that we will have the opportunity to launch this project together. Your club motto is “Mes Que un club” and it’s true. Barca is ‘more than a club. It is a message. A message of togetherness. A message of friendship…

“A soccer club is also a school. It is educational; it teaches our children to play together despite their differences.”

He then turned to his vision of peace and stated, “Real peace is between people and not just between governments and as our children love Barcelona, so, too, do children in the Palestinian Authority.

Rosell announced, “Tomorrow, Friday, we are going to Ramallah to meet his excellency Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority. We would like, with the Palestinian and Israeli leadership, to promote the idea of a football match for peace. We understand that peace will only be possible if we build confidence, respect and understanding between the two peoples. We believe with all our heart that a match involving Barca, with the collaboration of Israelis and Palestinians, can contribute to reestablish those links which are indispensable for people to live together peacefully.”

At the end of the statements President Peres and Rosell exchanged shirts, with President Peres receiving an FC Barcelona shirt with his name on the back and Rosell receiving a shirt with his name on the back from the PeresCenter for Peace.

Attack on British Soccer Fans in France Appears to be Anti-Semitic

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Fans of the British soccer team the Tottenham Spurs were targeted by an apparent anti-Semitic attack at a pub in Lyon, France. The Spurs traditionally have had a large Jewish support base in London, which is sometimes referred to as the “Yid Army.”

Some 50 attackers entered the Smoking Dog on Wednesday night making a Nazi salute before smashing doors and throwing chairs and other objects.

There were about 150 Spurs fans in the pub, which is popular with British expatriates in France, according to the British newspaper The Guardian. Three Spurs fans were injured. A Lyon newspaper described the attackers as skinheads, the newspaper reported.

Tottenham was scheduled to play Olympique Lyonnais in a Europa League game on Thursday.

In November, some 50 assailants wielding cobblestones, metal bars and knives attacked British Spurs’ fans and trashed a pub in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori square. One British fan was stabbed in the incident.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/attack-on-british-soccer-fans-in-france-appears-to-be-anti-semitic/2013/02/21/

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