“The fact that Israel is the first non-English speaking country ever to host the World Lacrosse Tournament, which happens to be the biggest yet with 50 teams and 2,000 athletes participating, is a testament to the country’s flourishing spot in the international community,” an Israeli official said.
By: JNS and World Israel News
Two teams participating in the World Lacrosse Championship, which kicks off in Netanya, Israel, on Thursday, warmed up together on Tueday at the Kraft Family Stadium pitch in Jerusalem.
In a match put together by The Israel Project, in cooperation with the Israeli Lacrosse Association, players from the USA and Hong Kong practiced on the field and signed shirts for crowds of local children who had come to watch the rare event.
On the other side of the field, Team Israel, which is also participating in the international competition, held a workshop for underprivileged children from the E4E (Educating for Excellence) organization. Assisting in teaching the kids were players from Sderot’s Youth Team, a city near Gaza that has been a continued target of rocket fire from over the border.
“Israel is joining countries across the world in becoming a lacrosse-loving nation,” said Lior Weintraub, vice president and director in Israel for The Israel Project. “The fact that Israel is the first non-English speaking country ever to host the World Lacrosse Tournament, which happens to be the biggest yet with 50 teams and 2,000 athletes participating, is a testament to the country’s flourishing spot in the international community.”
The World Lacrosse Championship will be held July 12-21 at the Netanya Stadium and Wingate Institute.
Another BDS Fail
As with many international events in Israel, the championships were targeted by the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, but to no avail.
The BDS called on the Iroquois Nationals to pull out of the competition.
The Iroquois Nationals team represents the Iroquois Confederacy, a group of indigenous nations from the northeastern US and eastern Canada.
They are credited with inventing the sport of lacrosse.
“As indigenous peoples, we have both seen our traditional lands colonized, our people ethnically cleansed and massacred by colonial settlers,” the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) said in a letter to the Iroquois Nationals published last Wednesday.
“Like the Iroquois Confederacy and the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, we struggle daily for self-determination and against ongoing dispossession and colonization,” the letter adds, using an Iroquois term for the North American continent.
The letter claims that the Wingate Institute, a sports college where the tournament will be held, is a “settlement” built on the Palestinian lands of Khirbet al-Zababida, even though it is on sovereign Israeli land, within pre-1967 lines.
Ansley Jemison, executive director of the Iroquois Nationals, told Indian Country Today that he has seen some of the requests to stay away from the championships in Israel, but said he and the team must remain focused.
“I think we are going to keep it as much about the game and as much about us understanding what we bring. What we are taking to the game is our medicine. And that can be a healing for both sides. We are an indigenous representative on the world level. We are not choosing a side. It is non-binary,” he said.
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