On March 10th the Jerusalem All Stars, the only integrated Arab-Jewish girls teams competing in the Israeli Basketball Association’s elite youth league, received a special visit from a couple of our friends and supporters at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. Frank Finver, Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, and Dwaine Jefferson, U.S. Consulate Information Management Officer, came to cheer on our younger All Stars Team, which comprises girls from East and West Jerusalem between the ages of 11 and 14, as they took on and defeated a team from the Israeli town of Gedera. The U.S. Consulate has shown ongoing support for PeacePlayers International’s work in the Middle East and is currently funding one of our projects. But Frank and Dwaine are more than just supporters; they’re also basketball fans who often join our coaches in regular pickup games.
The U.S. Consulate has helped fund our basketball and leadership activities for Palestinian youth in past years and is currently funding the America House Life Skills Event Series. The series engages Jerusalem youth in a set of enrichment programs designed and led by Palestinian and Israeli facilitators, which have been designed to teach skills such as critical thinking and conflict transformation, in addition to hands-on basketball and leadership training. We thank them for their ongoing commitment to working with us to help make Jerusalem a little more peaceful.
Frank and Dwaine were joined by dozens of All Stars fans, many of whom were the friends, parents and siblings of our players. There were so many All Stars fans that we spilled over into the away team stands! Little brothers and sisters of the players, the next generation of PeacePlayers, brought along pompoms and showed off their cheerleading skills. Thanks in part to all of the support we received from fans, large and small, the All Stars emerged victorious with a final score of 49-32.