Sports in Israel Cut Down Juvenile Delinquency
By HERBERT M. HOFFMAN
(Editor's Note: As heavy immigra-
tion into Israel continues, and in
view of the fact that one out of
every two UJA helps is a child
or a youth under 18, it is interesting
to note how the nation copes with
the potential dangers of juvenile delin-
quency among its newcomers. Many
are from deprived backgrounds; for
many, time hangs heavy. The fol-
lowing inter vie iv with Reuven
Dafni tells what Israel is doing for the
* * *
GOOD FRIENDS, Oscar Rappo-
port of Grosse Pointe Foods, and
Adam Kazarian, won't forget too
easily their experience of last week
... Elderly lady was having diffi-
culty getting items from the
shelves and pushing her cart
around at Adam's Goodwill Super
Market. So Oscar did the reaching
and Adam the cart pushing, all
around until the wagon was filled
over the top.
Then Oscar carried the "few"
other things she needed ... When
they got to the check-out counter,
the elderly lady thanked them and
introduced her son, a big strapping
6-foot young man who had been
standing on the other side . . .
Oscar and Adam eased away quiet-
ly as the son bawled his mother
out for making him wait so long!
300 PEOPLE and that's it . . . is
limit for the Barbeque Dance by
Knights of Pythias, Detroit Lodge
55, June 28, at Castle Hall, 15787
Wyoming . . . For tickets, call
Jack Goldman, GR 4-4356, Herb
Saperstein, DI 1-4402, or Henry
Willner, UN 4-7458.
AT THE BEGINNING of this
year, caterer Ted Moss went to
lose weight at a health farm in
Martinsville, Ind. . . . took off 14
pounds within seven days ... Don't
know what it proves, but since re-
turning, he has put on 30.
* * *
WHEN THE CENTER Camera
Club recently exhibited the "Prints
of the Year" in the lobby of the
Jewish Center, four trophy win-
ners were by art man Murray
Koblin . . . although Murry's be-
ginning in the clicked field is only
about a year old . • • when wife
Shirlee bought him a camera as
a surprise birthday present . . .
It has turned out to be quite an
expensive proposition for Murry,
who now not only has his own dark
room, but also about $4,000 in
cameras and equipment.
* * *
THIS YEAR'S installation din-
ner-dance by Detroit Lodge, Bnai
Brith, will also be its 25th anni-
versary, June 24, at Town and
country . . . Of the 100 men who
got together to form Detroit Lodge
BB, 34 are still active. . . For
tickets, call Lou Trotsky, chair-
man, LI 8-4999.
ABOUT 35 YEARS ago, Irving
Rosenberg came to America from
England .. . He was only 15 years
old . . . met Nate Lux and then
Dave Schwartz, now the bottle
king at services in the synagogue
on Taylor and Woodrow Wilson
... The three became bosom bud-
dies, which they have remained
throughout the years, attending the
simchas of each other . . . After
David Rosenberg, son of Iry and
Ida, was recently bar mitzvah'd, the
spirit of true friendship still pre-
vailed as Nate and Dave were
called upon among the family, to
light a candle at his reception.
"If you think an American
crowd gets excited at a closely
fought World Series baseball
game, you ought to watch a group
of Moroccan mothers rooting for
their youngsters at a 'Little
League' soccer match in Israel.
They're the most explosive sports
fans in the world !"
That's the comment
who knows the
sports scene all
over the globe
and the man who
runs the national
sports setup in
tall, trim, hand-
li, who is direc-
tor of the Sports
and Physical Ed-
ity of Israel's
Ministry of Edu-
cation and Cul-
tur e, recently
speaking tour of Dafni
the United States on behalf of the
United Jewish Appeal campaign,
and described the phyisical fitness
program in Israel.
"Our program's over-all objec-
tive is to involve every able-
bodied man, woman and child
in the nation," Dafni said. "In a
small, perilously situated coun-
try like Israel, a high standard
of fitness for the broadest pop-
ulation range is a must for our
national security. We can't af-
ford too many 4F's."
One of the most important func-
tions of the p r o gr a in , Dafni
stressed,- is to help root the immi-
grants into Israel's life. 'Sports
activities have proven the quickest
and best means—aside from the
Army — of transforming groups
from a great diversity of back-
grounds into one people Isra-
The work with newcomers is
considered so important that a
special department has been
formed to conduct sports and phys-
ical training programs for immi-
grants. Besides developing and
coordinating national programs for
all immigrants through its special
department, the Sports Authority
gives subsidies to sports clubs to
work with newcomers in their lo-
The immigrant program can
point to remarkable progress.
strated with the youngsters, be-
cause they're all eager to join any
athletic activity they can find."
Dafni said. "Then we got many
parents interested. Once the 'virus'
is injected, the people in the new
settlements themselves demand
more programs and more facilities.
You should see the women who
came from the Mellahs of North
Africa going through calisthenics
sessions with snappy precision!"
Perhaps the program's finest
achievement, Dafni noted, was
the cutting down of incipent
juvenile delinquency among the
immigrant children who came
from backward lands. "The
sports program gives them a con-
structive way to let off steam
and is the quickest way to give
the kids a sense of pride and
Dafni gave a couple of humorous
In the Junior Soccer League of
Beersheba, made up of more than
a thousand youngshters in 50
teams, the winning team last year
came from one of the poorest
Ma'abarot. Many of the boys had
been troublesome. But one of the
boys on the winning team ex
plained his new attitude by de-
claring: "I can't break windows
now—I'm wearing a championship
Another boy went even further.
Youngsters in the soccer tourna-
ment are not allowed to swear.
Swear once and they're out of the
game. Three swears and they're
out of the league. When a winner's
medal was about to be awarded to
one of the players, he suddenly
burst into tears and ran off the
field. The coach caught up with
him and asked what was wrong.
The boy said he had sworn.
"But you didn't," the coach said,
"or I would have hear you."
"I can't take the medal," the boy
wept. "I swore in my heart."
Dafni said about 40 per cent
of Israel's national soccer team
have been in the country less
than five years. Boxing is domi-
nated by North African (all ama-
teurs, there is no professional
boxing). Hungarians are tops in
weight-lifting and fencing. Iran-
ians monopolize wrestling. Mor-
rocans excel in bicycle racing.
Yemenites are outstanding in
the sprint events of track and
field meets. All groups partici-
pate in volley ball, basketball,
soccer, swimming and gymnast-
Dafni pointed out that 25 stu-
dents from many of the new Afri-
can nations were studying last
year to become physical education
teachers at the Wingate Institute
for Physical Education near Tel
Chess, while not a phyisical ac-
tivity, also comes under the sports
program and is widely popular.
Israel will be host nation to the
chess "Olympics" this year.
In the last few years, Israel
has succeeded in making ath-
letics and physical training a
mass activity. Here are two
striking examples: About 2,500
persons participated in the year-
ly three-mile swim across the
Sea of Galilee; and 18,000 joined
in the four-day, cross-country
march to Jerusalem.
As for the immigrants, 70 per
cent of the youngsters have been
brought into some phase of the
Physical education students at
Wingate Institute practice bas-
ketball, a popular sport in Israel.
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"I had a sort of dream-trance the
other day, in which I saw my favo-
rite trees step out and promenade,
up, down and around, very curious-
ly—with a whisper from one, lean-
ing down as he pass'd me, We do
all this on the present occasion, ex-
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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Friday, June 19, 1964
But Dafni is not satisfied with
that figure. "What about that other
30 per cent we haven't reached?"
he demands. "And the one out of
three schools for immigrant chil-
dren that sill have no physical ed-
What's the trouble? A familiar
one in Israel. Lack of money.
That's what blocks the training of
more physical training instructors
and installation of more athletic
facilities—even such simple ones
as volley ball courts.
"If the government could spare
the money to give me an adequate
budget," Dafni declares, "I know
I could wipe out any threat of
juvenile delinquency . . . provide
instructors and equipment for ev-
ery school and recreation centers
for every settlement . . . make Is-
rael's population completely match
the ideal of `mens sana in corpore
5 to 12 P.M.
2229 Jefferson East
just minutes from downtown
PHONE LO 7-0800
Israel's future physical education teachers hurry to a calisthenics
session outside Wingate Institute.