TEL AVIV – Inter Campus Israel and Palestine has kicked off the new season in style with a week-long camp involving football, swimming and climbing and culminating in a pizza party, much to the delight of the kids involved.

“The pandemic has further accentuated the socioeconomic differences between the children, said Arturo Cohen, a long-time coach on the Inter Campus Israel and Palestine project. “The neighbourhoods in the south of Tel Aviv – the multicultural area of the city, where Eritreans, Sudanese, Ethiopians and people of many other origins and colours are all trying to integrate into society – has become a place of even more extreme poverty.

“With no social and economic rights, as the entire country went into lockdown and saw restrictions imposed, there were moments of real desperation for refugee families, including some of the families that Inter Campus works with. Without even the most basic goods, and no way to guarantee  a safe roof over their heads, they had to rely on the support of ever-generous NGOs, who did their best to do something about the people’s lack of rights, financial support and certainty for the future.”

Against this backdrop, the opportunity to come back together again for the camp was a much-needed moment of relief for all involved – and a reminder of the importance of the right to play in the life of each and every child.

One of the big focuses of the Inter Campus Israel and Palestine project is integration, so it was especially heartening to see an atmosphere of openness and equality established from the off, despite it having been a year since the last event. Apparent differences vanished into thin air, as Israeli and refugee children came together in the name of sport.

Special mention must go to the Inter Campus Tel Aviv girls’ team, which features Israeli, Eritrean, Sudanese, Ethiopian and Indian players – the strongest illustration yet that football belongs to all of us.

We’re proud that the black and blue of FC Internazionale can be worn by anyone and everyone, regardless of their gender, origin or any other perceived differences.

At Inter Campus Israel and Palestine, we’re all brothers – and sisters – of the world.