On Thursday, April 25, on a sunny 27 degree day in Petach Tikwa, more than a dozen members of the Akko Educators’ Kibbutz hit the field at the fourth annual Hachalutz sports tournament for members of Dror Israel. More than 500 men and women between the ages of 20 and 45 participated in soccer and catchball teams in what has become Israel’s largest amateur adult mixed sports tournament.
Spectators of all ages, including nearly 50 children below the age of eight, enjoyed a range of activities such as graffiti workshops, acro-yoga, juggling, arts and craft, and an educational exhibition about equality and fairness in sport.
“I had an absolute blast playing alongside teammates from Akko as well as members of other urban kibbutzim from all over Israel,” said Gabe Freund from the Educators’ Kibbutz. “I never miss these events. No doubt that kicking goals against other teams is fun, but the absolute highlight is the incredible atmosphere. As educators we work day in and day out to make change in Israeli society. This is another way to do that, but out on the grass in the open air and the sunshine, with other educators from all over the country. What could be better?”
"it was very exciting to stand on the soccer field and see hundreds of people, dressed in colorful team uniforms competing in soccer and catchball in a fair and respectful way,” said Roei Tau, one of the tournament organizers. “It reminded me that on the field we are all equal, it doesn't matter what you do or how old you are, on the field you are a part of a team and the only way to win and to succeed is through cooperation. I think that this year for the first time there was a higher participation in the women's tournament than the men’s. It was an unprecedented success."
The annual Hachalutz tournament is Israel’s only non-competitive amateur sports carnival to include female, male and transgender players. it is a safe space for people of all ages, genders and skill levels to come together and simply enjoy playing sport. Each year the tournament continues to expand its activities for both players and spectators and Hachalutz looks to continue growing many years into the future.