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The Jewish Agency's Partnership2Gether Peoplehood Platform (previously known as Partnership 2000) has become the paradigm for successfully partnering global Jewish communities directly with Israeli communities.
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Soccer Team PartnershipIsraeli Partnership soccer team brings unity through sport to South Africa.

An under 15 and 16 year old boys soccer team from Israel is spreading the message of unity through sport to young people around South Arica. The team from the Beit Shemesh -Mateh Yehuda region comprises players from both Jewish and Arab backgrounds. They are part of an initiative from the Pere Centre for Peace which focuses on Jewish, Arab and Palestinian dialogue projects.

The boys were brought out under the auspices of the Israel Centre and South Africa Zionist Federation under the banner of the Partnership2Gether program that connects different communities around the diaspora with regions in Israel.

The team had a full itinerary upon arrival visiting various schools and doing a tour of Soweto, the Lion Park and Nelson Mandela’s house. The highlight however was the “Unity though Sport” soccer tournament held at Discovery Park.  The event organised in conjunction with the South African Friends of Israel brought together a variety of boys’ soccer teams from around Gauteng. The teams were from diverse backgrounds and included 128 participants from the Lebanese, Portuguese, Jewish, Christian and Africa Diaspora communities as well as from local schools, social development programs and Maccabi.  The aim was to bring together all the boys in the goal of promoting unity through sport.  

The opening included a variety of dignitaries including the chairman of the South African Zionist Federation Ben Swartz, deputy ambassador to South Africa from Israel Ayelet Black Black and Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein. The biggest attraction of the day however was the two SuperSport United and Bafana Bafana stars that arrived to give training to the teams. They included Dean Furman who is a previous captain of national squad and Reyaad Pieterse who is the current goal keeper. They also happen to each be Jewish and Muslim adding an extra level of symbolism to the message of the day.

After introductions and a training session by the players the teams then got the opportunity to play mini matches against one another. Befitting the spirit of the event there was no “winner” but all delegations received a medal and certificate of participation from Aviad Selad, director of the Israel Centre.  

After the event the team continued on its journey to Cape Town where they will be visiting the community there and playing another tournament. Gavi Sacks, executive director of South African Friends of Israel said “these sorts of events are an integral part of our work promoting a positive image of Israel to the broader community and are beneficial for everyone involved.  He said that this was second such team to visit South Africa and that he hoped that many would others like it would be organised in the future.