Athletes from all over the country, Jews and Arabs, all came to a joint training on the beach and proved: We are all equal, we all want to live together in peace. "It's symbolic of a city like Haifa hosting a festival of peace"
Last Thursda(July 13th), the Maccabia’s beach was filled with more than 100 athletes, aged 10 to 60, all wearing a karate gi (training suit), who came to take part in a martial arts festival held at Leonardo Beach.
All of them practice part of the Budo for Peace Association, which uses the principles of traditional martial arts (restraint, determination, respect) for bringing together and bridging populations in Israel.
At the beginning of the event, the participants enjoyed a traditional Japanese drumming, followed by the chairman and founder of the Budo for Peace, Danny Hakim, former Israeli ambassador to Japan Eli Cohen, the Japanese ambassador to Israel, and Nir Shaul, head of the sports department in Haifa.
"It was not for nothing that we came to hold the training in Haifa," Hakim said. "Haifa, which is a model of co-existence, is a wonderful mixed city for the three faiths, and in practice upholds what our association wants to promote throughout the country - respect, values, partnerships, restraint and patience."
Later, former Israeli Ambassador to Japan Eli Cohen, gave the audience an amazing performance with a special and valuable sword, which he has been carrying for many years (see pictures bellow). Cohen presented the art of drawing the sword (IAI do) in a breathtaking performance, especially when one realize how sharp the sword is.
Cohen, who is a founding member of the Budo for Peace, said that he met Hakim at the Maccabiah event exactly 40 years ago. Then the two arrived as athletes from different teams. Hakim won the bronze medal with the Australian team (and since then made Aliya) and Cohen won a gold medal for the Israeli team. The relationship between the two was preserved and 14 years ago they decided to use the knowledge they had accumulated over the years in the Japanese martial art and to promote it for peaceful and cooperative activities.
After the event, all the guests went to the beach, where the passersby, the swimmers and the Maccabiah athletes conducted mass training under Sensei Rubin Arkia, a black belt and senior instructor in Budo.
The event was full of energy, multiplayer and everyone's enjoyment. Most of the training took place in mixed couples (mostly Jewish and Arab) in order to practice the leading values of the organization: restraint, determination and respect, and to bring together the different populations.
Photo Gaby Maimon