Photo: David Silverman
The Peres Center for Peace, together with the President of Catalonia, Palestinian NGO Abu Suker Center for Peace & Dialogue, F.C. Barcelona, and the Ernest Lluch Foundation, presented an exciting “Peace Match” in Barcelona in November 2005, whereby a mixed team of top Palestinian and Israeli league players competed against F.C. Barca, at Camp-Nou Stadium.
The massive event was attended by over 30,000 people, and according to F.C. Barca, was broadcast live around the world on 127 television channels to nearly 500 million viewers in over 70 countries.
The “Peace Team” played an incredible match, with strong teamwork and excellent defense, yet Spanish league champions F.C. Barca won the match, with the final result being 2-1. The match was accompanied by an impressive entertainment program, with songs performed in Hebrew, Arabic and Catalan.
Furthermore, the event was attended by a variety of distinguished guests, including Shimon Peres, President of Catalonia Pasqual Maragall, Foreign Minister of Spain Miguel Angel Moratinos, and actor Sean Connery, who “kicked-off” the match. The “Peace Team” was accompanied by an impressive Palestinian-Israeli delegation, including the Mayors of Jenin, Jericho, Kiriyat Gat and Sderot, the Governors of Jenin and Jericho who served as representatives of the Palestinian President, the Palestinian Minister of Agriculture who was the official representative of the Palestinian Government, and 14 boys and girls from the Peres Center’s “Twinned Peace Football Schools” program.
June 21, 2011: Israeli President Shimon Peres meets singer and UNICEF Goodwill ambassador Colombian singer Shakira and F.C. Barcelona soccer star Gerard Piqué in Jerusalem, Israel. (Getty)
Colombian songstress Shakira said here Tuesday that she wants a world that emulates the teamwork of the title-winning F.C. Barcelona soccer club to “win the match against discrimination.”
“I would like a world that functions like a team, just like Barca does. In this way, we will be able to win the match against discrimination,” she said at a press conference while her boyfriend, Barcelona star Gerard pique, looked on from the first row of seats.
Shakira made mention of the Spanish soccer club again when she recalled that some of the hundreds of Israeli and Arab children who on Tuesday welcomed her to a bilingual school in Jerusalem were wearing Barcelona jerseys.
“This visit is an opportunity to emphasize the importance of how to raise our children,” the superstar said.
Shakira is participating in the inaugural session of a forum of conferences sponsored by Israeli President Shimon Peres and entitled “Facing the 2011 of tomorrow,” an initiative that – among other things – provides a forum for discussing strategies to guarantee protection and education for children.
The Peres foundation has signed cooperation accords with the F.C. Barcelona Foundation and Shakira’s Pies Descalzos Foundation designed to promote education and training of children in areas such as sports.
On Tuesday morning, Shakira was received with great celebration by hundreds of children who sang her hit “Waka-Waka” at an event organized by UNICEF in the schoolyard.
The singer mingled with the children and embraced and greeted all those that she could, after which she sat among them in the first row of seats to watch the show they put on for her.
|By The Associated Press and Haaretz Servic|
Fresh of its La Liga championship, Real Madrid came out strong Tuesday, crushing a mixed Israeli-Palestinian team 8-0 in a peace match held in front of 30,000 fans at the national stadium in Ramat Gan.
The game was organized by the Peres Center for Peace, headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate and President-elect Shimon Peres. The center runs a number of peace sports schools in Israel where Israeli and Palestinian children train together.
Star midfielder Guti grabbed a first half hat trick for Madrid to put the game all but out of reach for the Peace Team, which included Israel captain Yossi Benayoun and Bolton Wanderer’s Idan Tal.
Striker Raul added a fourth two minutes into the second half before being substituted followed by a goal by Alvara Negredo, another from Guti and one from Ruben de la Red.
The rout was finished off two minutes from the end by Negredo. Madrid brought a near-full squad of players to Israel, and coach Fabio Capello included many of the stars who had played a significant part in Real’s La Liga triumph at the weekend in his opening line up, including Sergio Ramos and Michel Salgado.
Peres began the game with a ceremonial kickoff.
But the biggest star, Madrid’s David Beckham, did not make the trip. Beckham played his last match for Real Madrid on Sunday and is joining the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League soccer next month.
Roberto Carlos also missed the match, having arrived in Istanbul on Tuesday to complete his transfer to Turkish side Fenerbahce.
The Peace Team nearly took a surprise early lead in the second minute when Sivasspor’s Pini Balili found himself with only goalie Iker Casillas to beat. But the Israeli international was unable to make the chance count and Casillas saved easily.
Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain forced the first real save of the match in the 27th minute when he unleashed a powerful shot which Peace Team goalkeeper Dudu Awat punched away for a corner kick.
Two minutes later Real took the lead when Guti fired past Awat from the edge of the area.
Benayoun had a great chance to score in the 37th minute, but his volley was too weak. Guti made it 2-0 in the 40th minute when he hit a strong shot from the left side of the penalty area which Awat was powerless to stop. And he scored his third in the 45th when he half-volleyed into the corner from the center of the penalty box.
Raul scored the fourth for Real two minutes into the second half, kicking the ball past Awat from the edge of the area. Negredo scored a fifth with 28 minutes to go, and Guti got his fourth and Madrid’s sixth two minutes later.
It was 7-0 in the 74th minute when de la Red scored a skillful goal, evading substitute goalkeeper Shavit Elimelech. Negredo scored his second of the match in the 88th.
Raul said prior to the match that the celebrations following Real’s 3-1 win over Mallorca on Sunday night – which clinched the club’s 30th league title – may have taken a toll but the players would give their best.
“We are very happy to be here, as we believe we have to work to help these kids,” he told a news conference. “The team is very tired but we have to play a spectacular match for the fans and people watching.”
The Peace Squad is made up of players from the Israeli and Palestinian leagues. It includes Israel goalkeeper Dudu Awat, who currently plays for Deportivo La Coruna in Spain, Maccabi Haifa’s Abbas Suan and Beitar Jerusalem’s Omri Afek.
The match was the third between a peace team and a prominent Spanish club. However, unlike the games against Barcelona in 2005 and Seville in2006, this was the first in Israel.
Madrid president Ramon Calderon said it was the club’s idea to play in Tel Aviv.
“We wanted to come here and play this match where the problem is,” he said. “People are aware of what, unfortunately, is happening in the world. That is the reason we wanted to come and practically demanded to come. Real Madrid does not close its eyes to the social realities that surround us.”
Exhibition match, to be attended by Shimon Peres, also gets active support from movie actor Sean Connery.
By Haaretz Service and Reuters
The joint Israeli-Palestinian soccer “peace team,” sponsored by Shimon Peres’ Center for Peace, flew to Spain on Sunday for a friendly match against Spain’s leading team Barcelona on Tuesday evening.
The “peace team” includes Israeli internationals and Palestinian players from the West Bank.
Most of the 27-member team, which was accompanied by a host of local sports and political dignitaries, flew from Tel Aviv for the match Tuesday, which comes at the end of a two-day Euro-Mediterranean summit in Barcelona. Leaders of all 25 European Union member states and 10 of Mediterranean neighbors are meeting in the city to discuss closer regional cooperation.
The team will be jointly coached by newly-appointed Israel national team coach Dror Kashtan and Palestinian coach Jamal Hadeideh of Tul Karm.
“Soccer is a language that anybody can understand, and I’m happy to be a part of the message that will go out to the world through this match – that Israeli-Palestinian cooperation in soccer is a natural thing,” Kashtan said in a statement. “I hope that this game is only the first of many other joint sporting ventures that will take place in the future.”
Movie actor and soccer fan Sean Connery, who is in Barcelona to promote Monday’s game said: “What we really need is to get back some of the optimism we had five years ago (in the Middle East peace process) and I’m sure there’s going to be a change in the climate within a week.”
Members of the 15-strong Israeli contingent include national team captain Avi Nimni, veteran defenders Arik Benado and Alon Harazi, and Israeli Arabs Abbas Suan and Walid Badir. Among the 12 Palestinian members is national team captain Haldin Mahed Ali Aloara.
Regular sporting events between Israelis and Palestinians are rare. The Peres center’s soccer and basketball coaching program for Israeli and Palestinian youth, which is begun in 2002, is an exception.
The center says some 2,000 children already have benefited from the program, which has promoted projects with the help of Real Madrid’s Brazilian striker Ronaldo and Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, who visited the region earlier this year.
Israeli and Palestinian girls play on the same team with the PeresCenter for Peace soccer initiative. Photo source : Flickr
Washington – A team of Israeli and Palestinian teenage soccer players was honored in Johannesburg on Thursday at Museum Africa by former president FW de Klerk for its contribution to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, all-africa.com reported.
“The Soccer World Cup has displayed the reconciliatory power of sport to the world. The Peace Team is another example of how sport can unify people,” de Klerk said.
The team has played together through the auspices of the Peres Centre for Peace, based in Israel, and the Al-Quds for Democracy, based in Palestine. The Peace Team has registered to take part in the Fifa Football for Hope Festival, a mini-World Cup event, featuring teams created in other conflict situations around the world, reported all-africa.com. The team will start playing from Sunday until Thursday in Alexandria, Johannesburg
The team has four girls and four boys, four Arab players and four Israeli players, one Arab coach and one Israeli coach.
“This is our opportunity to show people that Israelis and Palestinians can play together, and also that we can live together,” the team’s Palestinian coach, Kamal Abu Altom told the Jerusalem Post in June.
He said that the language barrier has made communication within the team difficult. But on the field, he said, the team will be a strong contender.
“We want to be number one in the tournament,” he added.
Eto’o received an award from the Peres Peace Foundation on Tuesday
Barcelona and Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o believes an African team can win the World Cup in Germany.
Despite the absence of Nigeria and Cameroon at next month’s tournament, Eto’o said there was plenty of potential in Ghana, Angola, Tunisia, Togo and the Ivory Coast.
“I think all the African teams that are there are there for a reason.
“They have the means to live their dreams and go all the way. But they must believe,” Eto’o added.
Eto’o was speaking during a visit to Israel to promote a joint Israeli-Arab youth football initiative aimed at bringing the divided communities together.
On Tuesday, he also picked up a ‘Peace and Friendship’ award from Shimon Peres, Israel’s vice-premier, for his battle against racism as well as the aid he gives to Africa.
“Because of their potential I think everyone is putting their hopes in the Ivory Coast,” said Eto’o, singling out the Ivorian defence for special mention.
Eto’o said he was impressed by Arsenal’s young Ivorian defenders Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue during Barcelona’s victory over Arsenal in the Uefa Champions League final.
“They are very good. They are playing at an international level already,” he said.
Eto’o said he was disappointed that he was not going to the World Cup with Cameroon, particularly after Barcelona’s fine season when they also won the league title and he lifted the Pichichi, the award for the top scorer in the league.
Two mixed Palestinian-Israeli youth teams competed in Munich in July 2005 against the official youth teams of F.C. Bayern Munchen, in an exciting display of sportsmanship which was watched by over 50,000 spectators and viewed by many more on television.
A Palestinian-Israeli youth delegation, comprised of participants from the Peres Center for Peace’s “Twinned Peace Football Schools” program, was hosted by Bavarian Prime Minister Dr. Edmund Stoiber and Mr. Shimon Peres at the new Allianz Arena. They competed against the official youth teams of F.C. Bayern Munchen, with the first match featuring 10-12 year olds, and the second match featuring under-18s teams.
The event was a great success, spreading the message of peaceful relations and teamwork to the over 50,000 Bavarian high school children that were present at the match, and to many more viewers who watched the match via live broadcast on German television.
“This is a very meaningful moment” said Peres a few minutes before the kick-off, “Peace has to be between people – especially young people – and not only between politicians.”
“This is not only a football match, but also a demonstration for peace” added Bavaria’s Prime Minister Dr. Stoiber. “It is impressive that a mixed team of Israelis and Palestinians are playing against F.C. Bayern Munchen, and of course this should serve as the starting point for further sporting and economic contacts between Israel, Palestine and Bavaria.”
The event also gained support from the Palestinian Authority, with Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie (Abu Ala) sending a letter of endorsement for the event. “I was delighted to hear about the “Peace Match”… Sports are a wonderful tool for bringing people from diverse backgrounds together, allowing them to transcend religious, ideological, cultural, national and political barriers… Sports are a perfect avenue for bringing together Palestinian and Israeli youth, where solidarity, mutual under-standing, respect and interaction are furthered.”