British embassy’s goal is peace through football

An initiative launched by the British embassy in Israel will bring together Jewish and Arab children to play football in a bid to show them ways they can live and work together.

Co-existence Through Football will see UK diplomats work with The Equalizer, a grassroots not-for-profit group collaborating with Israel’s Education Ministry to help children from disadvantaged communities.

Six new leagues will be set up in the Galilee with the hope of working with around 2,000 children in the next three years.

Coaches from the Football Association will also travel to Israel from England to help train the young footballers.

A tournament kicking off the campaign at Kiryat Shmona’s stadium last week saw 180 youngsters play alongside professional footballers, broadcasters and politicians.

A mixed team of Jewish and Arab children drew 1-1 in a match against a squad from the embassy.

British Ambassador Matthew Gould worked with former FA chief executive David Bernstein to develop the plan.

Mr Gould said: “Football is one of the things that ties Israel and Britain together. So it is natural that Britain should support a football project in Israel that will bring together Arab and Jewish children.

“There can be no better way of breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes.”

Last updated: 5:45am, February 7 2014