Paul Elliott attends Kick It Out Israel events
Paul Elliott was invited to Israel as a special UEFA ambassador attending a series of events hosted by Kick It Out Israel to raise awareness of their work.
Former Chelsea captain Elliott, was a guest at the Israeli Cup final between Maccabi Netanya and Hapoel Ironi Kiryat on 7 May. Before the match 300 children of Jewish and Arab heritage held hands in a pre-match ceremony organised by Kick It Out Israel and New Israel Fund’s Kick Racism out of Israeli Football.
Simon Peres, President of Israel, was also in attendance at the game, which saw Ahmed Abed, a player of Arab descent for Hapoel Ironi Kiryat, score the winning goal.
On 8 May, Elliott along with members of the Israeli national team were invited to the ‘Showing Respect’ event in the town of Tayybe. The event saw a football tournament take place for 250 of the children who took part in the pre-match ceremony at the previous evening’s cup final.
Alon Hazan, the Israeli Under-17 coach, joined Elliott as they promote messages of equality for Jewish, Arab and all ethnic communities in the region. Every participant received a ‘UEFA Respect’ football along with other materials donated by Kick It Out Israel.
Speaking after his time in Israel, Elliott expressed pleasure at the excellent campaigning of the anti-discriminatory groups in the country.
“Kick it Out has done fantastic work and I was so pleased to see the work they’ve done with the New Israel Fund.
“It’s about partnership and collaboration. We want to look at the positive contribution Jews and Arabs have made and convert that into the society for the whole of Israel.
“It is also about sustainability of the good work and that comes from investment, education, collaboration and leadership.”
Zohir Bahlul, member of New Israel Fund’s International Council, spoke of his delight at Elliott’s contribution to the events in Israel.
“We are extremely grateful to UEFA for supporting the events and donating 1000 footballs to the project; and to Paul Elliot for being such a wonderful ambassador and taking such an enthusiastic role in all the activities.”