Australian Embassy Tel Aviv sponsors Israeli-Palestinian“PEACE TEAM” final training camp in preparation for departure to Australia for the AFL International Cup 2011
Showing its support for the unique Israeli-Palestinian Peace Team, run by the Peres Center for Peace and Al Quds Association for Democracy and Dialogue, the Australian Embassy Tel Aviv is sponsoring the team’s final training camp this weekend in the lead up to its departure to Australia. After seven months of intense training, the team will be departing for Australia on August 8th to compete in the AFL International Cup in Sydney and Melbourne from August 12-27.
On Friday morning July 22 at 10:30am, a team of expat-Aussies, which has been playing against the Peace Team over the past few months, and which has lost its past two games, will face the Peace Team for the last time before its departure for Australia. You are invited to come down to Wingate to play, or to cheer the Peace Team on.
In 2008 the Peres Center for Peace, in cooperation with its Australian Chapter, created the first joint Palestinian-Israeli AFL Peace Team. This team of men from all over Israel and the West Bank aged 18-35 not only did not know each other, but also did not know the game. After training together for eight months, the team flew to Australia and competed in the AFL International Cup. Due to the great success of the project and the keen support of the Australian Chapter of the Peres Center, the second Israeli-Palestinian AFL Peace Team has been formed in order to continue spreading the message of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation and dialogue through sport, to show the world that such teamwork is not only desirable but also possible.
The team comprised of 12 Israelis and 12 Palestinians (some from the first Peace Team) has been training since January and participating in moderated dialogue sessions as part of the process of getting to know each other. Led by two ex-pat Aussies, who have volunteered to coach the mixed team, and supported by an Israeli Team Manager and a Palestinian Team Manager who coordinate with the respective players, the team have many barriers to overcome – learning the game, communicating despite the two different languages and making it to trainings – which for the Palestinians means getting permits and passing checkpoints.
Despite the many difficulties this team has faced, the determination of each and every team member has kept them motivated, and they are now prepared to embark on the long trip to Australia in the name of Israeli-Palestinian peace. The Peres Center for Peace and Al-Quds Association for Democracy and Dialogue would like to thank the Australian Ambassador to Israel, Andrea Faulkner, and the Australian Embassy for their support throughout the project, and for accompanying and cheering the team from its first practice, through its practice-games and training camps. The generous support of the Embassy to this important peacebuilding project is greatly appreciated.
For more information or to arrange interviews: Elysa Rapoport 054 – 5996160 or email@example.com