FILED UNDER SOMETHINGISRAELI >> Sport
Former England international and Liverpool footballer John Barnes has gone to Israel to spearhead an Israeli campaign stop racism at football matches.
Based on England's Kick It Out campaign, the Israeli version aims to create a better atmosphere both on and off the pitch for players and supporters alike and how it is not acceptable for either Israelis or Arabs to be racist.
Over recent years, tensions have built up between supporters of the clubs and the players on the pitch and now the New Israel Fund is backing a project to deal with the problem.
"I think Israel can really benefit from such a programme," said Barnes. "The main problem there between Jewish and Arab fans is very similar to the Rangers/Celtic religious prejudice I encountered when I was in Glasgow as manager of Celtic. When it boils down to it racism and religious prejudice are the same so I think Kick It Out can work in Israel."
"We think that Kick It Out is the right programme for Israel at the right time," explained Alan Bolchover, New Israel Fund UK chief executive. "If it can do for Israeli football what it has achieved here in England then that will also be an important contribution for coexistence between Israeli Jews and Arabs."
For more information: www.newisraelfund.org.uk