Co-existence in Israel: part 1


This series will explore different examples of co-existence in Israel and highlight constructive developments happening in Israeli society that serve to break down barriers and warm ties between the people who share the land.

Bringing Arab and Jewish Children Together Through Tennis
Bringing Communities Together Through Sport and Positively Impacting the Future
Equality | Empowerment | Leadership

Israel’s ‘Mr Tennis’, Freddie Krivine (1920-2005), understood that for many people, tennis is just a sport but for some, it is a means to so much more. The Englishman settled in Israel in 1984 and worked tirelessly to further Israeli tennis. He had success in this regard but the legacy he has left surpasses any success on the tennis court.

The Freddie Krivine Initiative (FKI) runs co-existence and social equality programmes for Arab and Jewish children and teens through the sport of tennis.

The FKI focuses on underprivileged Arab children who would not have an opportunity to participate in sports leagues or groups. By mixing them with their Jewish peers, all participants have the opportunity to play together and concentrate on their similarities instead of their differences. 

Through the tennis and shared society programmes, the FKI works to reduce discrimination and improve the social conditions of participants so that Arab Israeli children can develop their potential and overcome barriers to full inclusion into Israeli society.

The FKI works with children of all backgrounds and skill levels and strives to bring together a co-existence community of Arab and Jewish parents, coaches, players, teachers and volunteers.  

The FKI believes in creating a safe, positive, and welcoming environment for all young tennis players. The coaches are also in close contact with the families of the players, promoting involvement in a shared society for those in the most isolated communities.

FKI programmes attract both boys and girls; the Initiative is providing a sport that religious and traditional families feel comfortable sending their girls to participate in as it is a non-contact sport.

By improving schooling outcomes and providing all-inclusive programmes that close the gender gap, the FKI is recognised by the local authorities as one of the organisations that works to alleviating poverty through sport.

Sheikh Morad, the Mayor of Jisr, has said that the FKI programmes are one of the main elements preventing at-risk youth from being exposed to negative influences.

This year the Freddie Krivine Initiative celebrates 20 years of co-existence programmes between Arab and Jewish children and is a shining example of the core values that Israel represents – inclusiveness, equality and justice.

  • Through tennis Arab children can feel a part of Israeli society and are treated equally in the sporting and civil arenas.
  • Empowerment curriculum that fosters inter-cultural dialogue, fairness, social inclusion, gender equality and youth engagement.
  • Leadership training programmes, internships, assistant coaching opportunities for both boys and girls.
  • The Freddie Krivine Initiative has seen great success over the years and as of 2020 has achieved the following:
  • 7000 Arab and Jewish families have been reached through tennis clubs and training
  • Tennis equipment provided in low socio-economic communities
  • 25 Sponsorships and support for Higher Education granted
  • 1000 Volunteers and donors involved

The FKI runs an After-school Tennis and Homework Club in Jisr a-Zarqa that is staffed by volunteers and professional tennis coaches. Sport activity, homework assistance and English tutoring is provided.

  • Providing grants for outstanding players
  • After-school tennis in the community, dozens of morning programmes in elementary schools
  • Equal opportunities with 50:50 ratio boys and girls

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