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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Boaz Toshav with Saeed Hareb and Nasser Aman Al Rahma. (Supplied picture)
The normalisation agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel is a great opportunity to find new friends, said Boaz Toshav
Boaz Toshav, one of the owners and Board members of prestigious Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv, visited Dubai Sports Council to discuss mutual cooperation and investment opportunities.
Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, received Toshav in the presence of Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council.
Welcoming Toshav, Saeed Hareb explained the role that the Council plays in promoting sports at many different levels in Dubai, including the grassroots and community level, in developing the Emirate’s sports sector, in organising and supporting different local and international sports events, as well as in encouraging the private sector and individuals to invest in Dubai’s burgeoning sports sector.
“We are very, very excited to be here in Dubai and visit Dubai Sports Council,” said Toshav as he thanked Dubai Sports Council for the warm reception. “Hapoel Tel Aviv is one of the leading teams in Israel. It has always been supportive of the values of co-existence and for us, the normalisation agreement (between the United Arab Emirates and Israel) is a great opportunity to find new friends and new collaborations in this area.
“We are very, very thrilled with the hospitality we have received here and its’ very exciting for us. Football for us is a tool to bridge gaps and divisions, and we will try to do it through football and through our club.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv are one of Israel’s biggest football clubs, having won 13 league titles and 16 State Cups. Originally established in 1923, Hapoel Tel Aviv are also the first Asian champions, winning the first edition of the Asian Football Confederation’s continental club championship, the Asian Champion Club Tournament (now AFC Champions League) in 1967, defeating Malaysian club Selangor FA 2-1 in Bangkok.
Since 1995, the club has been competing in European club competitions and they victories against top sides like Chelsea, Milan, Hamburg, Paris Saint-Germain, Benfica, Rangers and Celtic.
Hapoel Tel Aviv were the first Israeli club to sign an Arab player and their list of Arab players includes Rifaat Turk -- who went on to become the first Arab to play for the Israel national team and represent the country at the Olympic Games -- Salim Tuama and Walid Badir.
Today, Hapoel Tel Aviv have the highest number of Arab players for all age groups as well as the club’s first team, and the club is also affiliated with several initiatives for children that promote equality and opportunities through football.
Both the city-owned stadium of Hapoel Tel Aviv, the 30,000-seating Bloomfield Stadium, as well as their training facility are located in the southern part of Tel Aviv, in the historic port city of Jaffa which has a majority Arab population.
A Haaretz poll published in June 2011 identified Hapoel Tel Aviv as the second most popular football team among Israeli Arabs, behind Maccabi Haifa, while another survey conducted in March 2012 showed that Hapoel are the fourth most popular team among Israeli football fans.
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