|Jewish and Arab Fans Join Together to Kick Racism Out of Soccer|
|Written by Tamara Symonds|
2012/13 Season - Without Violence
and Racism on the Field
Dozens of Arab and Jewish fans met before the opening match of Israel's new soccer season to prepare anti-racism banners. The fans of Hapoel Tel Aviv and from the Arab city of Sakhnin also discussed the need for shared society and tolerance. The fans' banners were prevalent in the stands as the players came onto the field wearing "Football for All" shirts in Arabic, Hebrew, and English. The players then kicked "Respect" balls, donated by the Union of European Football Associations, into the crowd.
The events were organized by NIF's Kick It Out (KIO) campaign in partnership with the Israel Football Association (IFA) and with the support of Israeli Police and the Ministry of Sport as well as the HAADUMIM - Hapoel Tel Aviv's Fans Association and the Bnei Sakhnin Fans Association.
The NIF campaign is currently marking 10 years of activities, during which racism in Israeli soccer has been drastically reduced. Sunday's event also attracted significant media attention in Israel including coverage in two of Israel's most popular websites, Y-Net and One.
Last Sunday's event was part of a new campaign for the 2013/14 season in which KIO Israel will encourage fans themselves to take pro-active efforts to combat racism and to prepare banners to be displayed in stadiums.
As the campaign enters a new year, a new season, and its second decade, NIF hopes to continue and strengthen its impact in fighting racism and promoting joint living between Jews and Arabs, new immigrants, and veteran Israelis.