It's how you play the game

The following article from The Jerusalem Post highlights the fun times at the Football Village of Hope. (You can learn more about Football Village of Hope at The full article can be found at, with an excerpt provided below.

August 7, 2009


The word “goal” means the same thing whether you live in Kiryat Gat, Tulkarm or Dublin. Taking advantage of the international language of sports, the organizers of the Football Village of Hope set out to raise the banner of coexistence, using soccer as the focal point.

On Thursday afternoon, the children participating in this year’s joint Israeli-Palestinian summer camp played their final game of the week, against their counselors. Though they were thoroughly beaten, their spirits weren’t dampened. All week long they’d been taught that the only thing that’s really important, in soccer and in life, is to show up on the pitch and do their best.

The Football Village of Peace, which took place over the last week in the Meir Shefeya youth village near Zichron Ya’acov and hosted 50 children from Israel and the Palestinian Authority, is the brainchild of Ophir Zardok. It grew out of a final project that he wrote for his graduate studies. Zardok was the first Israeli to take part in a postgraduate sports executive program run by the international football association FIFA, which trains people to manage sports clubs.

“It turned out to be a 100-page academic research paper, which included a complete business plan,” said Zardok.

The idea started taking shape more concretely when Zardok met with former Ireland football association president Milo Corcoran.   (The article continues at