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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

'Peace team' headed to Australia

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'Peace team' headed to Australia

Team of 13 Israelis and 13 Palestinians will compete together at the Australian Football League International Cup in August.

Australian football ( is a most un-Israeli sport, but 13 Israelis and 13 Palestinians are mastering the game ahead of an international competition in August.

The Israeli-Palestinian AFL Peace Team idea was set up by the Jaffa-based Peres Center for Peace ( in 2008. This is the second team to be competing in the tournament.

"We have a common goal. It's not about winning," says Tami Hay of the Peres Center. "Of course, for some of the players it is, because it is a competitive situation for them. But for us, it's to bring the message from here that there are still people that want to have peace in this region."

Indeed, this squad hopes to demonstrate that Israeli-Palestinian cooperation and teamwork is not just an idea but can also be a reality despite obvious tensions.

"We have here people that lost relatives ... during the time of this conflict. And talking about that with their teammates, and sitting in the same room with people from the other side and opening [up] like that is not an easy thing," Hay says.