MembersPlaying for Peace

Jews and Arabs can be seen battling each other these days in Jerusalem—only this time it is in the game of backgammon!

By Dov Eilon |
JERUSALEM DOUBLE
FACE-OFF: Jews and Arabs find a strategy for coexistence Photo: Yonatan SIndel/Flash90

In an initiative to break down barriers and prejudices, concerned Jerusalem citizens are organizing the games in neighborhoods around the city. Families with young children, university students and senior citizens, some wearing kippahs (Jewish skull caps), some keffiyehs (Arab headdresses), all join in playing and cheering for their favorite player to prevail.

“I think it’s great,” said one person who participated for the first time. “It’s important to have events that bring Jews and Arabs together. Backgammon can unite people.”

The Jerusalem Foundation, a community based non-profit organization, provides cash prizes for the winners.

“We were looking for something that would require people to sit face-to-face and where they would have no choice but to play,” said Kamel Jabareen, one of the organizers and a youth counselor from Shuafat, a tough Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

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