Beyond Images

Humanity shines through….
Compassion, humanity and hope in the midst of conflict

Challenging myths and presenting facts about Israel 
Soccer for coexistence: Arab-Jewish football event in Tel-Aviv
London - published on 3 February 2003
Beyond Images Ref: 56

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Top Tel-Aviv soccer team Hapoel Tel-Aviv sponsor a national youth soccer league across Israel. Over 170 teams are involved, with both Jewish and Arab teenage players. On 7 November 2002 a match was arranged between Hapoel Tel-Aviv and nearby Hapoel Petah Tikva, organised by the New Israel Fund.

Seven thousand Jewish and Arab children came to the event. Hapoel Tel-Aviv’s Israeli Arab player Salim Touwama scored in his team’s 2-1 win (source: Jerusalem Report 30 December 2002)


At a time of bitter conflict, it is important to highlight events which show that coexistence is possible. Millions of Israelis wish the Palestinians to have a normal life - so long as they do not threaten their own existence. Millions of Palestinians want to get on with their lives too. Events like this football match build mutual respect and help coexistence.

Outside commentators are quick to build stereotypes of Israelis – as “vengeful” and “hateful” towards the Arabs. Most Israelis hate terrorism and those responsible for it – but at the grass-roots level there exists mutual respect and tolerance. How else could there be Israeli Arab football stars in Israeli teams – even at a time like this?