In 2020, ITEC student Mika Dagan-Fruchtman became the first Israeli tennis player to be invited to a WTA tournament in the United Arab Emirates after the normalization agreement between the UAE and Israel. Ranked among the top 200 tennis players worldwide and the top eight in Israel, Mika participated in a ranking tournament in Dubai. It was a historical moment to be warmly received by our new friends and neighbors and to see Israel’s flag flying proudly on the courts in Dubai.
In early May, tensions began to rise, sparking unrest among the people of Israel. During this tense time, ITEC remained committed to providing a safe, inclusive environment for children of all backgrounds in Israel. Despite the potential danger guests faced, on May 20, 2021, it was a pleasure to welcome guests to a previously planned leadership day. Collaborators from Tayibe, the second-largest Arab city in Israel, were invited for a day of cross-cultural exchange and hospitality at our headquarters in Ramat Hasharon. This event was only the beginning of a larger initiative to bring ITEC’s unique formula for inclusion directly into Arab communities by partnering with Tayibe and the Bedouin city of Rahat. ITEC aims to build bridges through the vehicle of tennis and sports diplomacy to extend its reach to more children in Israel!
Despite the recent tensions in Israel, ITEC and its partners remain committed to furthering their initiatives to reach and support more children in Israel. On June 7, 2021, ITEC leadership and collaborators from the Bedouin city of Rahat gathered at the Partnership Forum in Ramat Hasharon. Speakers on the forum included Sheikh Faiz Abu Sahiban, Mayor of Rahat, Dr. Ian Froman, Co-Founder of the Israel Tennis & Education Centers, Dan Diker, Vice Chairman ITEC International Board of Directors, Erez Vider, ITEC Global CEO, and Aliza Abedelkader, Women’s Empowerment Advocate in Rahat. The day consisted of relationship building, leadership, excellence, inclusion, and tennis.
At ITEC Beer Sheva, a group of Bedouin girls from the nearby city of Rahat participate in our Girls Empowerment program. This program seeks to foster autonomy and self-confidence among all girls living in Israel through tennis lessons, physical fitness, mentorship, and empowerment seminars led by trained professionals. By bringing these groups together, we aim to instill a cross-cultural understanding that continues to grow stronger for future Israeli generations.
Opening of ITEC Nahariya
After collaborating with the Nahariya Municipality, the Israel Tennis & Education Centers opened a 16th Center.
Pickleball comes to ITEC
For the first time in Israel, the game of Pickleball was launched at 5 Centers: Haifa, Ramat Hasharon, Jaffa, Tel Aviv and Kiryat Ono. Each Center has a unique Pickleball complex, and a coordinator who conducts training in the mornings. Pickleball combines racket games such as tennis, table tennis, squash and badminton to create a new and more challenging sport.