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Coexistence

Israeli society is nothing short of complicated; it is a hybrid mix of Jews, Muslim Arabs, Christian Arabs, Bedouins and Druze. Somehow, all must learn to live together. Most often than not, Israelis choose to live within their own closed communities. In many instances, ignorance and distrust leads to tension, violence and conflict, which once ignited is difficult to dissipate. Youngsters who grow up in regions of conflict are deeply affected by the rhetoric of violence, with each group developing negative stereotypes of one another.

In many "mixed" cities and neighborhoods in Israel, large Arab and Jewish populations reside side by side. While seemingly serene coexistence can become a tradition, it is usually segregated, with both sides deliberately staying clear of one another. Coexistence that is based on calculated distancing is fragile. Tides of violence between Arab and Jewish Israelis erupt on a regular basis, often leading to disturbance and turmoil on a national scale. Notable examples of mixed Israeli cities are Jaffa, Akko, Haifa, and Beer Sheva - all of which have suffered from bursts of religious-induced violence in recent years.

As children are most susceptible to change, there is a need to implement coexistence programs for Arab and Jewish children that will encourage them and their families to explore one another, engage in dialogue, set common goals and ultimately realize that they all live under one roof. Effective coexistence programs advocate equality, tolerance and hope that are desperately needed in today's turbulent times.

Children Profiles

Sub-Programs

  • Integrated Tennis Classes for all Children

  • Individual Scholarships

    The ITC offers scholarships to children who wish to join the achievement and/or high performance tennis programs, yet are unable to afford the costs.

  • Twinned Peace Kindergarten

    In 2005, the ITC launched the Twinned Peace Kindergartens Program with the Peres Center for Peace, a leading coexistence organization founded in 1996 by President of Israel and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shimon Peres. The program brings Jewish and Arab children together in joint athletic development activities. The Twinned Kindergarten Program currently operates in Jerusalem […]

  • SLA (children of ex-South Lebanese Army troops)

    This program serves the children of ex-South Lebanese Army (SLA) troops and their families, who crossed the border into Israel after the IDF’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and established their new homes in Israel’s Northern cities. The ITC welcomed the SLA troops and their families into the center and offered them a recreational home […]

  • Doubles Co-Existence

    The Doubles Coexistence Program represents the ITC’s most ambitious effort to create dialogue between Arab and Jewish youth, their families and communities. Currently implemented at the ITC centers in Tiberias, Jerusalem and Beer Sheva, the program combines tennis, fitness, cultural enrichment activities and tournaments as means of facilitating trust and cooperation between Arab and Jewish […]

Testimonials

  • "Co-existence allows Israel's Jewish and Arab children to build their own relationships and experiences. When we visit a Center and see and hear 8 year old Arab and Jewish children playing together, we feel the power of co-existence. As donors, we view the Israel Tennis Centers as the leading organization for children's co-existence programs in Israel."

    Tom Bernstein

  • "Many of the children we serve come from families from broken homes and poor households. We try to give them tools to cope with the hardships of life. Tennis is a good tool for that. Tennis teaches children that no matter what, there will always be another match point. There will be another game. It's a lot like life -there will always be another day, and things can get better. That what I call teaching the game of life thought the game of tennis."

    Haim Zion, Manager of the ITC-Ofakim

Donor Recognition

  • American Embassy
  • Beracha Foundation
  • Blue Sky Foundation
  • Boston Jewish Federation
  • Terri and Marc Friedman
  • Randi and Eric Sellinger
  • Jane and Mark Wilf
  • Kennedy Leigh Charitable Trust
  • Peres Center for Peace
  • Raya Strauss Assets
  • Tennis Legends
  • Wieseneck Family
  • Local Municipalities: Haifa, Beer Sheva, Akko
  • Marci-Lynn Bernstein Charitable Trust
Rated as a top charity on charity navigator

The Israel Tennis Centers Foundation (ITC) has received a 4-star rating, the highest possible, from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent evaluator of not-for-profit organizations. This exceptional rating indicates that the ITC outperforms most other charities in America, adhering to the highest standards of governance and other best practices, and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way.

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