During an educational workshop which I ran in Jerusalem with student leaders from Israel and abroad in July 2015, I became acquainted with an Israeli non-profit organization – ‘the Equalizer.’ Equalizer runs special educational soccer tournaments and clinics throughout the peripheral areas in Israel, teaching values such as mutual respect, tolerance, co-existence and more.
It also focuses on creating awareness among young people to the importance of education, healthy
living and prevention of violence and racism.
Over 3000 children in 194 schools, participate in Equalizer soccer clinics, learning activities and
training sessions each year, representing all part of the country and from all backgrounds, religions, ages and genders. You can find boys and girls, Jews and Arabs, secular and religious, deaf and hearing disabilities groups, Israel natives and new arrivals. It is an extremely diverse and heterogeneous project that fosters communication and connection by instilling the values of sport and tolerance.
The participation of the children in the activities depends solely on their behavior, efforts, presence
in school and how it is presented to them. In case of racism, violence or criminality of any kind, players are suspended from the team’s activities.
One of the concepts on the soccer pitch introduced by Equalizer’s founders is the issuing of “Green cards” to players in addition to the yellow and red cards traditionally used for negative behavior on the pitch. Unlike their counterparts, the green cards indicate a different type of behavior – that of respect and sportsmanship. If one of the participant’s helps another player, whether on his own team or the other,he is rewarded with a green card by the referee. The more good-deeds performed by the players, the more green-cards they get. At the end, prizes are awarded to players that have accumulated the most green-cards.