Nov 17, 2009

Boxing as the solution to the Middle East problem

The New York Post article on Yuri Foreman's championship win is very interesting.

Foreman is in a rabbinical studies program he expects to complete within two years. He doesn't see his faith being in conflict with his profession.

"People have stereotypes that if you've going to be a rabbi then it's got to be only peace: not necessarily," Foreman said. "The life is actually not peaceful. You have to really work hard every day. It's OK to fight and earn money and study to be a rabbi."

Hours after winning the title, the accomplishment of a life-long dream had not sunk in yet. It was a dream that began when his mother took him to a boxing gym after he was bullied at grade school -- a dream that helped him become a national champion in Israel while training alongside Arabs; a dream that brought him to Brooklyn at age 19 with the goal of becoming a world champion.

"I'm still like, wow," Foreman said, a cut over his left eye and bruise under his right serving a proof his title didn't come without sacrifice.

Foreman, 29, hopes his reign will have meaning beyond boxing.

"Sport transcends the differences between nations," he said. "When I came first to the Arab gyms, the first impressions were they really stared at me. They wanted a piece of me. But after a few sparring sessions and training they just forget and we become friends. Now I have a lot of Arab supporters. They Facebook me and say they've been praying for me. So it's good to hear."

Maybe we can adopt a similar model to solve the Middle East problems... throw some Israelis and Arabs into a ring, let them duke it out, and get out all their aggressions and then come to live happily ever after together...
I think Foreman is far more deserving of a Nobel Prize for this revelation than Obama who received it (for what, again?)

1 comment:

  1. There have been many cases of people using sports to try to bridge the gap between Jews and Arabs. Mountain climbing has been one. Yoga has been another.

    There is some evidence that, on an individual level, bringing people together and having them pursue a non-political (preferably collaborative) goal can lower some barriers and create the possibility of friendship. However, as the Mandels point out, it's not a cure-all.


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