This week’s blog is written by Hadas Prawer, a member of the Leadership Development Program and the Jerusalem All-Stars.
Hello, my name is Hadas, and I’m a Jewish 17-year-old from Jerusalem. Two weeks ago, I was reading International Fellow Jamie Walsh’s blog, and I started thinking that we, the participants of the program, should be sharing our thoughts and feelings as well, especially with everything that is going on with the conflict right now. That’s why I decided to write this week’s blog.
I’m in America right now for soccer camp, and all I can think about is what is going on back in the Middle East. I know everyone already knows about the war that is happening, but the thing that bothers me the most is what is going on between the people in my region. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to see the hate between both sides, and it’s true that there will always be extremist groups that will try to spread the hate, but the question is why do we let them affect us so easily? If you look on any social media site you can see racism and hate from both sides towards each other, and that is what bothers me the most. But there’s a little light of hope in the middle of all this hate (at least for me), and this light is called PeacePlayers.
Here’s an example:
Besides basketball, I also play soccer for A.S.A. Tel Aviv (a team that only has Jewish players), and my team got to the national championship game against Sakhnin. For those of you who don’t know, this team is from an Arab village in northern Israel. A few minutes after the game started, I saw a group of people coming into the stadium, and I was surprised to see a group of my friends from PeacePlayers coming to support my team and I. Now try to picture it: a Jewish team playing against an Arab team. You are Arab, but your friend is playing for the Jewish team. My friends cheered for me. What would you do in this situation? In some places in the world, this might not seem so crazy, but where I’m from, most of the time Arabs and Jews don’t exactly cheer each other on at sports games. When they cheered for me, I was so proud to be a part of PeacePlayers. I was so happy that I got to know these girls, and that without a doubt, these girls changed my life. Anyone that was watching the game was so surprised. I think it sends a message, loud and clear, that our friendship is stronger than any war, and we will continue to be friends forever. Our friendship is there to show the world that there’s another way, a better way.
The message I want to pass on is this:
It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what you are, always support the people you care about. Dare to say out loud, “We refuse to be enemies, we refuse to hate each other.” I can say it, and I am saying it. And I bet, if you ask anyone that is a part of PeacePlayers, we would all say the same thing: “We are PeacePlayers, and we are against the hate and racism. We won’t let our society dictate to us who to hate and who to like. We are PeacePlayers, and we refuse to be enemies, no matter what. We are PeacePlayers, and we are here to prove that there’s a better way for all of us!”