This project builds on the universal interest of 10-12 year olds in soccer. Through offering them subsidized quality training it attracts them to cooperation and dialogue with the 'other' at this critical age of personality design.
In Jerusalem Arabs and Jews are generally very segregated and have very few opportunities for encounter. This leads to mutual images composed mainly of prejudices and negative stereotypes, which get psychologically rooted from a very early age.
One of the contexts in which the bad inter-communal relations are most manifested is the soccer pitch. Fans' calls, songs, slogens etc. often include racist and xenophobic content. Children who are interested in soccer are especially badly influenced.
The project will target at-risk children - Jews, Muslims and Christians - and leverage on their affinity to soccer. They will be attracted to receive quality soccer training, be part of a team with its special uniform and participate in monthly tournaments with other teams across the country. Two conditions will work to solve their problem: they will be required to be in a mixed team with children from "other" communities and to invest time, with guidance, in working on their studies.
The 44 participating children will be trained to be used to respect the "other" and to study seriously. They will grow out of their risks, complete their studies and become in the long-term active and empowered citizens in their society. In the mid-term they will be trained and empowered through being invited to assist in coaching and facilitating activities of future groups of 10-12 year-olds.