Jewish, Arab girls find peace on the soccer field

Nathan Hager,

BETHESDA, Md. – The goal of Middle East peace may seem unattainable to some, but there’s a program in Israel that’s promoting peace between Jews and Muslims — one kick at a time.

Rotem Shavero, 14, is one of the Israeli girls who takes part in the Twinned Peace Sports Program. It brings Jewish and Muslim girls together twice a month to play.

“What we have on our hands for the first meeting are kids who have so many stereotypes and stigmas toward the other side,” said Tamar Hay with the Peres Center for Peace.

The Peres Center for Peace puts the program on in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Washington.

Hay said the program helps to break down the children’s stereotypes with the hope that their experiences and friendships will have a ripple effect in their communities.

The girls get together separately twice a week to practice and then meet twice a month to play each other. The program consists of sports education and peace education. There also is a focus on learning the language of the other group.

Hay feels there will be peace one day between Muslims and Jews and wants to prepare children for that reality.

“This generation needs to be prepared for the day after,” Hay said.

Shavero said she is already gaining a positive feeling about the Arab girls with whom she plays.

WTOP’s Nathan Hager contributed to this report. Follow Nathan and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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