Israeli martial-arts NGO takes regional coexistence award

Budo for Peace, an Israeli NGO dedicated to coexistence, was recognized for its ‘outstanding contribution to peace in the world using the power of sport’ at the 2018 Peace and Sport Regional Forum in Greece.

By Brian Blum


When does fighting contribute to fostering peace? When it’s part of an Israeli-run martial arts program that trains young Jews and Arabs in Israel, the Palestinian Authority territories and the wider Middle East.

Budo for Peace was named NGO of the Year at the 2018 Peace and Sport Regional Forum last week in Rhodes, Greece.

The group’s nomination for the Peace and Sport Award followed its February 2018 annual international seminar, which included 80 international senseis (teachers) and 800 Jewish and Arab youth martial-arts representatives from as far afield as Iran and Greece.

Nearly 2,000 youth have participated in a Budo for Peace class or seminar over the organization’s 14 years of operation.

From left, UN Protection Officer Khalifa Rihab; Budo for Peace founder Danny Hakim; BFP COO and Education Director Robeen Arkia; BFP Board Member Harvey Belik; Sensei Keyvan Ghazi, BFP-Greece; and Peace and Sport President and Founder Joël Bouzou. Photo: courtesy

Budo for Peace founder Danny Hakim says that only by bringing together communities “across religious, cultural and political boundaries” can we promote “peaceful initiatives and lead children … by example.”

Most of Budo for Peace’s classes are held for Jewish or Arab Israelis separately. There are classes in Lod, Kiryat Malachi, Kiryat Gat, Jisr-az-Zarqa, Tamra, Ra’anana, Givat Shmuel and other communities across Israel.

The coexistence part kicks in when senior martial arts advisers to the Jewish groups come from Arab and Muslim communities, including the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Morocco. Budo for Peace also organizes visits by Israeli students to these destinations.

Hakim said that “even just by making sure that people from diverse origins, religions and political backgrounds get to meet each other, and interact in an environment that lends itself to equality and effective exchange of perspective – as is the case with our Budo for Peace platform – we believe we have achieved half the magic.”

Hakim also chairs Kids Kicking Cancer Israel, a US-based program that includes martial-arts therapy “to empower children diagnosed with cancer and other serious diseases and conditions.”


About the Author:


Brian Blum – Photo: ISRAEL21c

Brian has been a journalist and high-tech entrepreneur for over 20 years. He combines this expertise for ISRAEL21c as he writes about hot new local startups, pharmaceutical advances, scientific discoveries, culture, the arts and daily life in Israel. He loves hiking the country with his family (and blogging about it). Originally from California, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children.



View original ISRAEL21c publication at: