Hapoel Jerusalem FC

Club Info

1 Ha’Museonim Blvd

Kosel Center, Jerusalem

39126 Jerusalem 9139002

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Hapoel Jerusalem FC

Hapoel Jerusalem is a unique Israeli soccer club. It is the first club in Israel that was founded and is owned by its fans. The club’s activities are based on the values laid out by the fans: equality, tolerance, and complete opposition to any kind of violence, discrimination, or racism. The working assumption of the club is that through a safe, open, tolerant, pluralist and communal environment, one can create new norms of behavior in Israeli sport and become an exemplary model of communal responsibility.

With the goal of leading and promoting social and humanist values, community involvement, and an aspiration towards excellence in sporting values, members of the club initiate and run a variety of different social projects for more than 1000 people of all ages and both genders from childhood to adulthood, from across the mosaic of Jerusalem’s population, in 47 soccer teams, as part of unique, groundbreaking projects. Some of these projects are discussed below.

The Neighborhood League:

The club’s flagship community action project uses soccer to advance social-educational values among children aged 8-14. At each partner school there are boys’ and girls’ teams that operate twice a week, and also feature learning centers to help the children advance educationally. Each team has a qualified coach, and once a month there is a celebratory tournament in which all of the participants (from all the neighborhoods of Jerusalem – Jewish and Arab children) meet. Thanks to their shared love of soccer, the relationships formed between the children provide them with sporting values of physical exercise, self-confidence, and creativity.

The Integrated Special Needs Team:

The Integrated Teams project, which is the first project of its kind in Israel, features two amateur soccer teams made up of fans of the club, who play alongside people with disabilities. One group is for fans and people dealing with mental disabilities, and the second team is for fans and people dealing with mental-developmental disabilities. The project includes joint training once a week led by a professional coach. Participants are provided with uniforms and full training equipment. The program offers a response to exclusion, stigma, fear and stereotyping among the general population towards excluded populations, and breaks down barriers and stereotypes towards disadvantaged populations. Soccer provides a secure, stable and enjoyable framework for the participants, who for years have never missed a meeting. Friendships are formed off the field and the participants see themselves as part of a community of supporters, often attending the professional team’s matches, where they don’t feel excluded. Following in our footsteps, other clubs have established an additional eight integrated teams throughout the country, and an exciting tournament for all the teams is held once a year.

Women’s League:

Football isn’t (yet) a popular sport among women in Israel. It’s not easy to attract adult women (16+) to join regular training or take part in an annual tournament that takes place outside and in any weather. The goal of this project is to allow Jerusalemite women to enjoy all the advantages of soccer in an amateur setting. Training is held once a week, and once every few weeks there is a tournament with parallel teams from across the city. Every woman who dreamed about doing a sport and enjoying soccer is invited to join the league without prior experience. Qualified coaches run the training, and each participant receives a professional uniform. The women come from across Jerusalem society (Jewish, Arab, religious, secular, and Ultra-Orthodox) and family members (including partners) regularly accompany the women to the tournament and cheer them on from the stands.

Kiryat Yearim Youth Village:

The village, houses around 130 young people aged 12-18 under boarding school conditions. These are young people who were expelled and didn’t adapt to regular frameworks. At the village they receive a “last chance” to return to a normative life path that will allow them to integrate into society, to succeed in completing school and even to complete their. Despite all the difficulties that we faced, we have succeeded in establishing and maintaining two football teams, an older group for 10th to 12th grades (a coexistence group with the children of Abu Ghosh), and a younger group for 7th to 9th grades. The teams are a source of pride for the young people, who, no matter the weather, never miss even a single training session. The goal is to instill sporting values and excellence into the young people (for them to want to win but also know how to lose, to respect their opponents, to increase self-esteem, to abhor verbal and physical violence, and to promote coexistence). There is training twice a week, and once a month there is a game against another boarding school. The seriousness and perseverance of the young people leads them to take their life path much more seriously.


The Integrated Special Needs Team

The Integrated Teams project, by Hapoel Jerusalem, which is the first project of its kind in Israel, features ...