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Makkabi - No place for anti-Semitism

November 26, 2022

13-year-old goalkeeper Lian hears anti-Semitic abuse all too often. She's a member of the Jewish sports association Makkabi. Lian and her fellow athletes regularly experience all manner of aggression, from hate speech to physical violence. What can they do to counter the hatred?

https://p.dw.com/p/4K75L

Comments such as "break the Jew’s legs” and actual physical violence are the order of the day for the members of the Jewish sports association Makkabi Frankfurt. The problem is especially acute in youth soccer. But Makkabi is a club for everyone: many skin colors, nationalities and religions are represented - Muslims, Christians and people who are not religious train at the club. In fact, Jews make up just a third of a membership. But regardless of their faith and background, everyone is affected by anti-Semitic attitudes. Lian is Jewish; she first started playing at Makkabi at the age of five. The club is a safe space; her team gives her strength and motivation. Lian is one of the best female goalkeepers in her age group in Germany. Because too few girls play, she guards the goal for the boys. Her big ambition is to one day play in the women’s Bundesliga. Luis Engelhardt isn’t Jewish, but he’s been coming to Makkabi for half his life already. He’s often experienced hatred. He offers workshops to clubs and associations. Children attending soccer training here learn to speak out if they ever witness any kind of anti-Semitic aggression on the pitch. Can Makkabi embolden kids to stand up to hatred? Can anti-Semitism be countered by simply getting to know each other better? Hakan Tekin is a Muslim who’s been involved with Makkabi for 20 years, initially as a player and later as a coach. Today he even coaches the Jewish men’s national squad. Winning and losing together creates strong bonds. Hakan has revised his view of Judaism through his work at the club.

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