Previously on Puck Drunk Love, I brought a story by the New York Times to light about Even Kaufmann and his experience being a Jew playing hockey for the German national team. Hockey, along with family, has helped Kaufmann heal in regards to the Nazi perpetrated Holocaust against the Jews. Now in Israel, hockey’s helping Arabs and Jews bond as people and players. Is there anything hockey can’t do?
The Toronto Star published a feature today on competitive youth hockey in Israel.There’s just one Olympic sized rink in the nation, and it’s in Metulla at the Canada Centre, which was established with help from Canadian Jewish contributions, as was the Canada-Israel hockey school. Levav Weinberg, who the school was the brainchild of, and his partner Dolan Abu-Saleh began lessons as a way of getting youth in the Golan Heights to participate in sports in Israel. He then offered lessons for just $5 a child to entice parents of Jewish children to allow them to participate despite their reservations. Initially the classes are segregated by religion, but as their abilities improve, they’re placed on teams with each other. The results are something that can possibly teach some adults who “know better” a lesson.
“When you play together, you forget that you are Arabs and Jews,” said Mayyas Sabag, a 12-year-old forward from the Druse village of Majdal Shams …
“In a short period of time we got to know each other,” 14-year-old Niv Weinberg said. “We aren’t the only ones in living here (in Israel). This country isn’t ours alone.”
The children are realizing that when you work towards the same goal, you realize that you have more in common than you think.