Kids’ Soccer Leagues Aim to Bridge Israel’s Religious Divide

Kids’ Soccer Leagues Aim to Bridge Israel’s Religious Divide


"Tzav Pius, which has organized 96 youth soccer teams across Israel, is aiming to change how the country’s religious society and soccer establishment view each other. Because Israel’s most popular sport is played on its day of rest, about one-third of Israeli Jews — the proportion that observes Shabbat — cannot watch, attend or play games".

"Founded after the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin stoked bitter religious-secular tensions in Israel, Tzav Pius runs a network of joint religious-secular schools, kindergartens and summer camps that promote what it calls an “integrated” society.

Tzav Pius — literally “reconciliation order,” a play on the Hebrew phrase for a draft notice — doesn’t shy away from advancing its coexistence message during practices. A couple times each month, before the kids run drills and scrimmage, they attend an hourlong educational session on the field featuring games and exercises designed to imbue tolerance and an appreciation for pluralism. Some activities also aim to counter racism among Israeli soccer fans and players".

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