President Sandro Rosell and vice president Javier Faus will be departing on Thursday for a two-day trip to Israel and Palestine to strengthen institutional and commercial ties with representatives of both communities. The Barça directors will have a tight schedule that includes interviews with major Israeli and Palestinian figures, and visits to such emblematic places. The visit to Israel will also include a floral offering at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.
Among others, Rosell and Faus will be meeting in Tel Aviv with Israeli president Shimon Peres. In Ramallah, the capital of the West Bank, the two FCB representatives will be speaking to the president of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmud Abbas, and members of the Palestinian Executive at the Muqata, including General Jibril Rajoub, president of the Palestinian Football Federation and Olympic Committee.
The FC Barcelona president and vice president will be attending a meeting on Thursday with Shimon Peres and the two presidents will be making a joint institutional statement at the Kfar Hamaccabiah. Rosell will then be visiting the Peres Centre for Peace in Jaffa. On Friday, the Barça party will be travelling to Ramallah for an interview with Mahmud Abbas and Rajoub, at the Muqata, and will then be giving a press conference.
FC Barcelona is the most supported sports club both among Israelis and Palestinians, and has always defended the universal values and social commitments that have led it to participate in so many cooperation projects around the world. Barça is doing its own bit by seeking forms of understanding and agreement among the Israeli and Palestinian people through sport and education.
The club knows that peace can only be possible by a strengthening of the trust between the two communities. In recent years, FCB has been taking part in events and activities that have contributed to this cause. In 2005, a game was played to foster peace in the Middle East against the Peace Team, formed by Israeli and Palestinian players (2-2), by initiative of Lluís Bassat and Shimon Peres, who were joined by Palestinian Minister for Agriculture Walid Abed Rabo. In July 2011, Mahmud Abbas visited FC Barcelona, where he was welcomed by institutional vice president Carles Vilarrubí.
FC Barcelona believes it is important for children to be involved in this peace process. In this regard, in October 2011, the club’s Foundation organised a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian children at its La Masia Oriol Tort training facility and residence, where the youngsters attended peace workshops and played matches together. The FC Barcelona Foundation also collaborates with YaLa, the youth social movement created by initiative of the Peres Center for Peace to foster coexistence between the two communities, organising events and activities on the club facilities whenever they visit Barcelona.
The schedule of this trip is subject to last minute changes. The venues and times of the places where President Rosell will be speaking to the media will be announced shortly.
Source: FC Barcelona
South Africa placed second after losing 3-1 to Israel in the finals while Turkey finished third. An awards ceremony closed out the tournament with Turkey’s Ice Hockey Federation President Orhan Duman attending.
The Israeli team made headlines when Turkish fans attempted to rile them up during their match against Turkey on Feb. 10 in İzmit, which they won by an impressive 6-1.
Tensions flared briefly in the hockey arena during the Turkey-Israel game when a group of spectators sitting amongst the Turkish fans unfurled a banner referencing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s memorable “one minute” outburst to Israeli President Shimon Peres during the Davos economic Forum of 2000.
The banner and those who hung it were immediately removed from the stadium by security guards.
The Tel Aviv Municipality expects 35,000 runners to jam the streets of the city on March 15, when the fifth annual Tel Aviv marathon is held, making it the largest such event in the history of Israel.
Speaking at a press conference at the Tahana complex in south Tel Aviv on Monday, Mayor Ron Huldai touted the 2013 Tel Aviv Gillette Marathon as an event of great importance “not only for the city but also for Israel as a whole,” adding that it is in keeping with city efforts such as the expansion of bike lanes and the citywide bike rental service, intended to encourage more residents to get involved in sports and outdoor activities.
Billing it as a holiday (“hag marathon”) and a “non-stop party,” the Tel Aviv municipality sees the marathon as an integral piece in its plans to increase the city’s status as a sports-friendly city, and has invested at least NIS 12 million in the production of this year’s marathon.
The 35,000 expected runners will take run along seven different routes, with about 2,500 of them doing the full marathon and the rest running half marathons, 10k runs or shorter stretches. The production will require well over 1,000 police officers and 2,000 volunteers to provide security, and 4,800 traffic barriers will be set up across town before and during the race, the municipality said on Monday.
City councilman and head of the city sport council Alon Solar said the marathon has “international importance” for Tel Aviv, in that it will help efforts to promote the city’s offerings.
Like Huldai, he said that the marathon is part of the city’s campaign to increase local participation in sports among Tel Aviv residents.
According to the municipality, 25,000 people have already signed up for the run, including over 1,000 people from outside of Israel.
Among these will be professional runners who will fly in for the race and compete for the NIS 15,000 purse.
Watch the video of Schottenstein’s blessing below: