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Friday, November 09, 2007

Darfur Refugees Welcomed By Jewish-Arab Soccor Players

(Image Credit: Israel 21st Century)

After fleeing their native region in Darfur for the holy land, many Sudanese refugee's have been enjoying life in Israel, with some being granted citizenship.

While the fate of many have yet to be decided, one Israeli-Arab team took it upon themselves to make sure that these people feel welcome.

(Israel 21st Century) Bashar was one of 50 political refugees from war-torn Darfur who was invited to the game as a goodwill gesture by the Mevasseret team, a uniquely mixed Jewish-Arab group from Mevasseret Zion and Abu Gosh, both communities on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The club's president, Alon Liel, said that including the refugees fit into the team's larger concept of promoting coexistence in Israel. [...]

Bashar, who escaped to Israel alone two years ago, now awaits word as to whether he will be among those permitted to stay. But he was all smiles as he greeted and thanked Liel for the invitation to the game in perfect spoken Hebrew.

"They are letting us feel not just like refugees, but as part of a sport. They are saying we are with you, and it's not just about politics," Bashar told ISRAEL21c.

Once the conflict in the region is resolved, hopefully many of these refugees will be able to travel back to their homeland in peace. Until that day, Israel will be stuffing their bellies with Falafels as they enjoy their "second" home.

Note: The event was organized by the New Israel Fund, which is an organization whose goal is to promote social justice throughout the Jewish state.

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