Arab and Jewish students ‘play for peace’ in Wellington

WELLINGTON, Fla. (CBS12) — Israeli students from a traveling tennis clinic met at a country club in Wellington on Thursday to show fellow tennis players and club members how sports can help bridge gaps.

The half-dozen student delegation from Israel Tennis & Education Centers is made up of Christian, Arab and Jewish tennis players. The organization aims to teach the young people to focus on commonalities in a region that is often plagued with tension.

“This organization is one of the beautiful things you can see in Israel,” said Shadi Altori, an Arab player who believes tennis helped build up his confidence.

As the Trump Administration hopes its recently proposed Middle East peace plan gains traction beyond Israel, the tennis center’s instructor told a crowd that these students are the answer to lasting peace in the region.

“We are playing for peace,” says Yoni Yair, Vice President of Development for Israel Tennis & Education Centers.

“It’s possible. It’s not a dream that is not possible,” said Noam Yitzchaki, who grew up along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and lived through rocket attacks as a child.

Students at the clinic, on display at the Wycliff Golf & Country Club, told CBS12 News they were not focused on politics or conflict. Instead, players say they build bridges between parts of Israel society that would not normally associate.

“The older generation has stigmas,” said Nir Skoletsky, adding that students his age are far more open. “They see you are a kid, I’m a kid, let’s play soccer, let’s play basketball.”

“Thousands of kids can be like me,” Altori said. “This is the answer. This organization.”

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