Last weekend, 30 Palestinian and Israeli girls from Jerusalem took a trip to Kibbutz Ketura, near the southern tip of Israel. And these weren’t just any girls – they were new and veteran members of the trailblazing Jerusalem All-Stars, the first ever mixed Palestinian-
Israeli teams to compete in the Israel Basketball Association’s elite youth league. This coming year, thanks to a partnership with top Israeli women’s basketball club ASA Jerusalem, the All-Stars will amount to three teams, one of which will compete at the national level, the highest grade of competition available in Israel to youth this age. The new Jerusalem All-Stars will include veteran members as well as new members who were drafted from the ranks of ASA Jerusalem.
This trip, which was supported by the Land Brandenburg Minister President (Germany), a donation facilitated by the Jerusalem Foundation, was designed as a team-building and training camp ahead of the coming season. The retreat included lots of basketball training, led by coach (and PPI – ME program manager) Oshra Amoyal, and a trip to the nearby resort town of Eilat, where girls got to rest their muscles with an afternoon on a yacht. During downtime, girls swam in the kibbutz pool and even got into sleepover mode and did each other’s hair in a sort of impromptu co-existence hair salon.
The interaction between the girls was so natural, so normal, that you would never guess that they come from two sides of a strained
and often violent divide. You would never guess that these girls, like PeacePlayers in general, are the exception to a very unfortunate unwritten rule. In the coming year, we hope that their ability to see each other as people will translate to superior sportsmanship and teamwork, and that these girls will be champions on the court in the same manner as they are champions in spirit.