You can learn more about the Peres Center at www.peres-center.org. The following comes from the Center’s July 2009 newsletter.
One hundred and twenty underprivileged Palestinian and Israeli children took part in this year’s first two sessions of the Peres Center Summer Camps for Sport and Coexistence. The Palestinian children were from communities in Gaza and Ramalla and the Israeli children live in the communities of Sderot, Kiryat Gat and Yeruham. Mr. Toschi of Regione Toscana, who played a pivotal role in initiating the project, made an inspirational visit to the camp. The camp took place on Kibbutz Gal-On, and included a wide range of fun activities such as sports, swimming, Darbukka drumming, frisbee, a visit to the science museum in Jerusalem, and a trip to an amusement park. In a special art and peace education workshop, the children had the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings about coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. The summer camp environment encourages lasting friendships and understanding between Palestinian and Israeli youth. The initiative was partnered with the Palestinian Dialogue Center and was made possible through the generous support of Regione Toscana.
Some of the comments received from the Israeli and Palestinian children:
Israeli Child: “When I came to the camp, I didn’t think I would get along with Arabs, but in the end it worked out. I played football with them and it was fantastic!”
Palestinian Child: “We won’t forget this camp. We didn’t know anything about Israeli children, but now, after this encounter, we got to know them more as people and human beings. We can live together!”
Addendum: The Sport Department Twinned Peace Sport Schools program was selected as a finalist in the “Peace and Sports” award category of the “Beyond Sport” competition. Beyond Sport is a London-based organization that supports any group with the goal to drive positive change through sport.