More than 60 Hapoel Tel Aviv fans were hosted in the Arab town of Sakhnin earlier this week in a unique encounter between Israeli Jews and Arabs. The event was organized by NIF in cooperation with the Israel Police, Ministry of Education and the State of Football, a soccer NGO receiving consultancy assistance from SHATIL. The highlight of the visit was a soccer match between the fans of both teams. Sakhnin won 4-1 but it was a victory for both teams, who enjoyed a rare day of hospitality and co-existence.
An Arab fan and a Jewish fan enjoy a moment of camaraderie.
The players and fans wore shirts with NIF's Kick Racism out of Israeli Soccer logo and the slogan "Israel is everybody's field." The Tel Aviv fans were welcomed by hundreds of Sakhnin residents and, after being given a tour of the city, met the mayor. "I also only have one country," said an Arab Sakhnin fan. "The motto that Israel is everybody's field really speaks to me."
Many of the Tel Aviv fans were visiting an Arab village for the first time in their lives. Despite a long standing concern about violence, this was the first time the Israel Police allowed Jewish fans to enter the stadium in the town center.