My name is Sharon Gudker, I am 16yrs old, and I have taken part in the Cricket4Peace project since it began in 2009.
I remember my first meeting with the Palestinian boys. It was in Yerucham in the desert. I watched them getting off the bus, they all looked so different to us. I was very nervous and even a bit scared to shake their hands. A group of men from England had come over to help with the project.
To start off the event, George, our coach, organized an international match. He told everyone that it was the first time in history that Israel and Palestine would play in the same team against another country. Our team was made up of Israeli and Palestinians and our team was called IsraePal.
I wasn’t picked to play against the English, but it was a very strange feeling cheering the Palestinian kids each time they scored a run or took a wicket. It was as if it didn’t matter that they were Palestinians, because we were all playing together on the same team.
We won the match by one run, and all the kids—Israelis and Palestinians—ran onto the field and gave high-5s to each other. From that moment, everyone smiled at each other and we were less embarrassed about trying to speak in English with each other.
I now have many Palestinian friends, mostly on Facebook. Cricket has changed the way my friends and me think of Palestinians now.
* Sharon Gudker is a 16 year old female participant in the “Cricket for Peace” project at the Peres Center for Peace. The project brings together Israeli children from Beer Sheva and Dimona, with Palestinian children from Al – Samoa and Yatta, to promote human and community relations and break the barriers between the parties.
This story was translated from Hebrew and was originally 550 words but we have trimmed it to the required 250.
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