“Everything I have that’s positive in my life, I attribute one way or another to the Israel Tennis & Education Centers.”
That one sentiment capsulizes the true feelings that ITEC Manager Rakefet Binyamini has for the ITEC. In 1976, when she was 12 years old, Rakefet joined the ITEC – Ramat Hasharon, which had just opened. She very quickly fell in love with the game and started playing every day, moving into the ITEC’s High Performance Program as a very successful junior player.
In 1981 she won the Israeli Junior Championships in the U-16 and U-18 categories. That same year, she also won the Israeli National Championships in singles and doubles. After graduating high school Rakefet received a full scholarship to attend the U.S International University in San Diego, where she stayed for four years and graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Physical Education.
Upon returning to Israel, she coached for four years at the ITEC – Ramat Hasharon. Rakefet then left the ITEC to manage a private tennis club for 11 years, before coming back in 2006 to manage the Nussdorf – Mark Families Israel Tennis & Education Center in Jaffa. During this time, she also found time to earn a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.
As a former Israeli Tennis Champion who has coached thousands of children throughout her career, Rakefet is the ultimate role model for girls at risk. “When I see one of the girls at the center”, Rakefet reflects,” I know she could just as easily be out on the street. More importantly, I know that that the ITEC and the game of tennis may prevent her from roaming the streets in the future”.
“Nine years ago, my life came full circle when I became Manager at the ITEC – Jaffa. It was a real opportunity to give back to the community what it had given to me for so many years as a child and as an adult. Tennis did not only give me fame, glory and success. What tennis has really given me and hundreds of other kids like me, are values and life skills such as responsibility, cooperation, self-esteem, self-confidence, an ability to solve problems and make decisions, motivation, hard work, living up to your dreams, acceptance and tolerance.
Today I feel blessed that I can instill all those values and give as many kids as possible the opportunity to play, to enjoy the game of tennis and to make a difference in their lives. And my goal for the future is to help even more children and to never stop trying new programs that will put a smile on every child that walks through our door.”