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Second Annual Friendship Games to Bring the World Together in Israel

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2007-05-10 08:03:39     
Second Annual Friendship Games

The Second Annual Friendship Games basketball tournament at Tel-Aviv University is slated to begin June 1. The games run through June 8.

Thirty college teams from 17 different countries among them Russia, China, Serbia, Jordan, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Turkey, Palestine, Ukraine, Cyprus, Slovenia and Israel will compete in the round-robin style tournament with each team playing five games. Some of the countries participating have been or still are in conflict with each other.

In addition to the tournament, the Friendship Games give college-aged students of different ethnic and religious backgrounds the opportunity to come together in friendship by touring Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, Tiberias and Tel-Aviv-Jaffa.

This year's event will begin with a coach's clinic at Tel-Aviv University featuring former National Basketball Association (NBA) all-star and recent inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Dominique Wilkins and NBA coaches on June 1-2. A June 3 clinic is also scheduled in Amman, Jordan. Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Herb Brown will lead the clinics.

The program was conceived in 2006 by Atlanta Hawks co-owner Ed Peskowitz after meeting with Arie Rosenzweig, athletic director of Tel Aviv University and Illan Kowalski, athletic director at the Interdisciplinary Center of Herzliya. Their goal was to use the game of basketball to unify countries on a grass-roots, person-to-person level.

"We're not going to change the world," Peskowitz says. "But you can either wring your hands over seemingly insolvable problems or try to make a difference. This is our attempt to help people find common themes, common hopes, and common dreams, rather than focusing on their differences."

"During the Friendship Games, Arabs and Jews, Christians and Muslims, and people of all faiths will live together, play together, explore together and grow together."

Last year, teams from Northern Ireland, Serbia-Montenegro, Turkey, Jordan, Jericho in the Palestinian West Bank and teams from around Israel participated in the games.

"Watching the students play basketball and living together in the dormortories and participating in all of the cultural functions gives us great pleasure," said Rosenzweig. "It demonstrates coexistence between nations through sport."

For more information visit, http://www.thefriendshipgames.org.

Specialized in: Second Annual Friendship Games
URL: http://www.thefriendshipgames.org
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