Photo by Haim Zach, GPO
President Reuven Rivlin met with Real Madrid President Florentino Perez last night at the club's football stadium, Santiago Bernabeu. The meeting, during the President’s State Visit to Spain, was focused on President Rivlin's extensive social and educational activities as part of his flagship Israeli Hope initiative. The overall initiative is aimed at shaping and promoting a shared vision for the future of Israeli society among the different communities in Israel; religious and secular, Jews and Arabs. The “Israeli Hope in Sport” project, includes at its heart The Shield of Honor, a new award instigated by the President’s Office as an annual honor bestowed upon the Israeli premier league clubs that do the most to combat racism and discrimination on and off the field, through social and communal activities.
During the meeting with representatives of Real Madrid, the President's staff presented the project and explained plans to expand it to municipal authorities, and to use football as an informal educational framework. Representatives of the Real Madrid Foundation expressed great interest in the possibility of cooperation and their teams will continue to promote joint programs.
President Rivlin told Real Madrid president Florentino Perez that "football has the ability to create a rare common language that crosses cultures, languages and customs,” he added, “there is no clearer way to learn about the importance of teamwork."