The struggles between religious and racial groups are well documented in Israel. Fear and hostility are embedded at a young age. Without concerted efforts at peace and reconciliation, human suffering will continue.
Rugby has a documented history of bringing people together across religious and racial divides, most notably in South Africa under Nelson Mandela, and in Ireland where the Rugby Team is a united team. The very physical nature of the sport creates challenge on the pitch, but teaches players to manage their aggression and leave it on the field. Opposition players are friends not enemies, and the tougher the game, the more mutually respectful players are afterwards.
Changing the outlook of young people, to trust, respect and form friendships across traditional boundaries brings tolerance and the capacity to work through difficult problems in real world situations. It is not just the individual friendships, it is the capacity to empathise with people who challenge you in adulthood. In Israel with its history of deep scars, it is the capacity to leave the pain on the field and move on. Hard sportsmen and women make great statesmen and women