Group uses soccer to help kids on border with Gaza


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A sport development organization is using soccer to help children in southern Israel with trauma from this summer’s massive rocket fire from Gaza.

As part of the initiative, Mifalot is planning to rebuild a soccer field damaged by rocket fire at Kibbutz Mefalsim, located approximately one mile from the Gaza border, to serve as the center for its educational programs.

The programs will use soccer as a tool to empower, educate and help children deal with post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of the some 3,000 rockets that were fired on the area immediately before and during Israel’s 50-day operation in Gaza over the summer.

The organization launched a crowd funding campaign this week to raise funds for the soccer initiative. The campaign will close on Jan. 8.

Mifalot was founded 15 years ago by Sami Segol, Moti Orenstein and Moshe Teomim, then owners of the Hapoel Tel Aviv soccer team. The group operates hundreds of social projects in 250 towns and villages across the country, focusing on children at risk and towns on Israel’s periphery. The organization has also partnered with communities and organizations in Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Rwanda, Haiti, Cameroon, Nigeria and Philippines.

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