Breaking down barriers—with sports!
Israeli soccer team Hapoel Shavim Tel Aviv, a mixed league of people with and without disabilities, was recognized on Wednesday for its collaborative efforts and teamwork – on and off the field.
Shavim Basport (“Equality in Sports”), a cooperation between Joint-Israel Unlimited, the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and soccer leagues across the country, aims to integrate people with disabilities into team sports. It is sponsored by the Ted Arison Family Foundation and the Ruderman Family Foundation.
Hapoel Shavim Tel Aviv was awarded the “Shield of Honor – Israeli Hope” prize by President Reuven Rivlin in a ceremony showcasing achievements in sports. The award, now in its seventh year, recognizes teams that position themselves as game changers in their field. The winners were singled out for their dedication to diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunity.
Hapoel Shavim seeks to strengthen the cohesion of Israeli society by empowering people from all backgrounds, ages and with all types of disabilities to participate in organized sports.
Flanked by Israeli flags and members of the Shavim soccer team, President Rivlin said he was honored to bestow the prize: “I am delighted to stand here today, together with those who have succeeded in making a difference – not only in sports, but in Israeli society as a whole. We commend you for your hard work, team spirit, and the hope you’ve instilled in our hearts.
“We must continue to strive for excellence in these areas so we can cultivate the next generation of leaders.”
The ceremony was held at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem under the banner, “we are all on the same field.”
“Equality in Sports” first teamed up with Hapoel Katamon, the fan-owned Jerusalem club, in 2018, and soon expanded to five additional clubs, including Hapoel Tel Aviv. The players train together every week and compete in tournaments and matches, with the goal of fostering equality and acceptance among Israel’s diverse population.
Congratulations to all the participants!