Israeli President Reuven Rivlin Thursday hosted a delegation from the National Basketball Association (NBA) that is visiting the Jewish state for a program that seeks to promote cultural understanding.
The NBA’s Basketball Without Borders initiative is currently running a summer camp in Israel for the first time. Leading teenage athletes from more than 30 countries—including Spain, Germany, France and Israel—are being coached and tutored by former NBA All-Stars, including center David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs. The teens are also performing community outreach in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
“You all know very well that whatever sport we are talking about, a team is a symbol of community, of values,” Rivlin told NBA Hall of Fame members Robinson Wayne Embry, as well as NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO Mark Tatum, upon meeting them in Jerusalem. “It represents hopes and dreams. The NBA and the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) represent the hopes and dreams of so many young boys and girls around the world.”
Rivlin noted Israel’s own efforts to foster cultural understanding through athletics, including bringing “Jews and Arabs, children, to come and play [soccer] side by side. Because a society that plays together, stays together.”