The Israeli Cricket Association has been named as one of the European regional winners of the prestigious Pepsi ICC Development Programme Awards for 2011.
The efforts of the ICA were recognised by claiming The Spirit of Cricket Award for their Cricket4Peace project.
The scheme involved 80 boys and girls from four separate playing centres in Israel, and the Palestinian Authority being introduced to cricket for the first time using cricket as a tool to bring communities together.
The ICA has won The Spirit of Cricket Award on two previous occasions. The first accolade came in 2001 for the Hitting Poverty 4 6 project. This was followed by the Hurah Children with Bedouins award in 2009.
Speaking about the latest award, ICA chairman Stanley Perlman said: "It's like a dream come true. One of my goals has been to get Palestinian children playing cricket with Israeli children and winning the award is the light at the end of the tunnel.
"It's something very positive. Everyone should be giving Israeli cricket a big thumbs-up.
"I think we’re doing quite well and with the help of a generous British donor, we look forward to starting the second year next week.
"Winning three awards from the ICC means a great deal to Israeli cricket. We have hardship with numbers and facilities and we might be a small nation but we’re always punching above our weight."
ICC Regional Development Manager, Nick Pink commented: "The award winners reflect the great work that is happening across Europe in the ICC Pepsi Development Programme, with many different country winners and many others submitting some very good nominations.
"Each year the competition gets stronger and the winners deserve great credit and recognition for being selected and should be very proud of their achievements."
Perlman also revealed that the ICA has appointed its first-ever female director in Netta Ness-Cohen. She follows in the footsteps of Reni Roussev, the Association's first female coach.
The 2011 winners:
Best Overall Cricket Development Programme- Cricket Ireland
Best Women’s Cricket Initiative – Cricket Scotland
Best Junior Participation Initiative – Cricket Scotland
Best Cricket Promotion and Marketing Programme – Danish Cricket Association, Spil Cricket Project
Best Spirit of Cricket Initiative – Israel Cricket Association, Cricket4Peace Project
Photo of the Year – Deryck Vincent (Ireland)
Volunteer of the Year – Michael Selig, (France)
Lifetime Service Award – Alex de la Mar (Netherlands)