Football Village of Hope kicks-off in Israel

The Football Village of Hope, an annual cross-community project which brings together children from Israel and Palestine under the banner of football, kicked off today in northern Israel. Organised by Milo Corcoran, Chairman of the Setanta Sports Cup organising committee, and ex-Drogheda United general manager Ophir Zardok, the Football Village of Hope will bring 120 children together for a two week football camp.

Funded by Irish Aid, the Government's programme for overseas development, the Football Village of Hope was launched last year and aims to bring children from Israel and Palestine together to build friendships through football. This year's event will see 60 children from the Palestinian areas of Tul Karem, Hebron and Jericho join with 60 Israeli children from Kiryat Gat and Merchavim.


Milo Corcoran thanked Irish Aid for their continued support of the project and also thanked Umbro for donating footballs and sports equipment to the Football Village of Hope:


"I am looking forward to what I hope will be another enjoyable and successful few weeks for the children and everyone involved. I would like to thank Irish Aid for their continued funding of the Football Village of Hope project. Football is a wonderful way to bring people together, and I am delighted that Minister Michael Martin and Peter Power, Minister for State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, have been so supportive.


"I would also like to express my thanks to the FAI and to Umbro, who have also been fantastic supporters of the Football Village of Hope project."


Ophir Zardok, who first came up with the idea for the Football Village of Hope when he saw the ability of the Setanta Sports Cup to bring children from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland together, says that the project offers great hope to people in Israel and Palestine.


"The Football Village of Hope is a great example to show there is a hope for Palestinians and Israelis to co-operate and live together. This is the second year of the project and the fact that our numbers from doubled from 60 to 120 shows the will of the ordinary people to find the way to live together. We would like to thank all our partners, especially Irish Aid for their great support."


The Football Village of Hope is organised in co-ordination with the Israeli-based Peres Centre and the Palestinian-based Al Cuds, two organisations that work to bring people in the region together under the banner of sport.


Michael Rubin, International Relations Coordinator at the Peres Centre, welcomed the impact of the Football Village of Hope.


"We are the Peres Centre are getting excited for the upcoming summer camps in cooperation with Football Village of Hope. The camps are an excellent opportunity for the Israeli and Palestinian children and we are very grateful to once again be partnering with the Football Village of Hope for this important purpose."

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