ADL Sponsors 'Streetball Hafla' Summer Camp for Arab and Jewish Teenagers
Jerusalem, June 29, 2007 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) teamed up with the Israeli Ministry of Science, Culture and Sports to put together a unique basketball summer camp for Arab and Jewish teenagers in the Galilee.
The camp, dubbed "Streetball Hafla," involved some 160 teenagers and their coaches from 14 villages and communities in northern Israel. They participated in a three-day festival that took place June 26 - June 28 at the Wizo Youth Village in Nahalal. Under the slogan of coexistence and tolerance, the youth shared rooms and competed in mixed teams. Campers learned fundamentals of the sport and went through the ADL's A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute anti-bias training program.
During the festival there were interactive workshops and artistic events, including the painting of a mural and drumming. The culmination of the camp revolved around a Streetball tournament that saw teams compete in three-on-three, high-paced basketball games very popular in the United States. Families and friends from the Arab and Jewish communities attended the finale where they too mingled and shared food.
The Streetball Hafla was the first of its kind event in Israel where Jewish, Christian and Muslim teenagers lived together and competed in mixed teams to create teamwork and friendship. The youth came from the Jewish communities of Emeq Yizrael, Ramat Yishai, Misgav, Emek Hayarden, Nazereth Ilit, Bikat Beit Shean, and the Arab towns and villages of Iksa'el, Deboriah, Tamra, Arabah, Shefra'am and Ibllin, Um el-Fahm and Nazereth.
One of the highlights of the camp was the visit by Soccer star Abbas Swan, an Israeli Arab. He was greeted with great enthusiasm by the kids who listened to his message of clean sportsmanship without hatred and bigotry.
"It's more than just about basketball and hanging out together. It's about meeting as equals and breaking down walls of prejudice and intolerance. Streetball and ADL's expertise in stereotype-reduction education is a winning combination to accept 'the other'," said Phyllis Gerably, Managing Director of ADL's Israel Office. "This camp is a pilot that we envision growing to a national program."
The Streetball project was made possible by a generous donation by the Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.