PeacePlayers Middle East Logo

Using basketball to bridge divides, change perceptions, and develop leaders among Palestinian and Israeli youth in Israel.

Our Programming

PeacePlayers Middle East engages over 500 Palestinian and Israeli youth each year, ages 6-25, in year-round and multi-year basketball training, conflict resolution education and leadership development activities in Israel, with its head office in Tel Aviv – Jaffa. Programs are divided into five tiers:

PeacePlayers Middle East Basketball Clubs

PeacePlayers Basketball Clubs

A network of joint basketball clubs that bring together children and youth, ages 6-14, for basketball and peace educational activities

PeacePlayers Middle East All Stars

All stars

Fully integrated competitive teams, composed of Arab and Jewish young women, ages 10-25, who play in the official Israeli basketball league

PeacePlayers Middle East LDP

Leadership Development Program

A leadership and capacity building program that grooms veteran participants into the coaches and leaders in the program and in their communities

PeacePlayers Middle East Rising Stars


A project that aims to scale PP-ME's programs by engaging promising leader-athletes from the wider community to create pipelines to untapped communities

PeacePlayers Middle East Alumni

Alumni Engagement Program

An initiative that seeks to re-engage and re-connect PP-ME’s alumni, by supporting and inspiring them to further PP-ME’s mission

Our Context

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most seminal conflicts of our time.
Complex challenges tied to history, religion, land, national identity and sovereignty are at the heart of a century of violence and bloodshed. The separation barrier between Palestinians and Israelis has made it nearly impossible for both groups to meet. Even in the “mixed” city of Jerusalem, Palestinian and Israeli children live in separate neighborhoods, attend different schools and speak different languages. Without opportunities for contact, Palestinian and Israeli young people know each other largely from media, myths and stereotypes. This exacerbates the hatred and fear that continue to undermine the potential for sustainable peace.
Since 2005, PeacePlayers Middle East has tackled these seemingly impossible circumstances...
uniting more than 10,000 Palestinian and Israeli young people, training over 150 coaches, and working in approximately 40 communities throughout Israel.
PeacePlayers Middle East offers youth a safe space to challenge prevailing hostilities, build friendships across conflict lines, and serve as leaders and advocates for peace in their communities.
In addition, as part of a strategy to empower girls and young women as athletes, leaders and peace builders, 75 percent of PeacePlayers Middle East participants are female.

Proven Impact

0 %

of participants are more positive about the outgroup following participation

0 %

of participants have developed cross-community friendships

0 %

of participants report improved self-esteem

0 %

of participants have confidence in their ability to serve as leaders within PeacePlayers and in their communities

Read the report in English; Arabic or Hebrew

A Ground-breaking 8-year studY

Recent 8 year randomized control trial study in the Middle East proves the impact of PeacePlayers on building peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Our Stories


Our Team

Bella Kovner

Dr. Bella Kovner


Location: Middle East

For the past twenty years, Bella held management and technical positions with the INGOs World Education, Inc., Terre des hommes (Tdh) and IsraAID and was based in The US, Nepal, Cambodia, Uganda, Albania and China. Bella holds a MA in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University and a PhD from the Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on children’s rights and access to justice in conflict-ridden areas, with a focus on East Jerusalem. Besides her vast work and management experience with INGOs, Bella taught courses on forced migration, human trafficking and child labor at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Reichman University, and other colleges across Israel. Bella lives with her family in a kibbutz and is a strong believer in social justice, youth empowerment and co-existence.

Shlomit, PeacePlayers Middle East

Shlomit Shiri

Senior Finance Director

Location: Middle East

With a BA in Social Work from Bar-Ilan University, Shlomit joined the organization in early 2012 after living in New York City for six years. After gaining experience in bookkeeping in the US, she started running the finance department in the Middle East and has continued to do so to this date. Her financial work involves not only local responsibilities but also a global collaboration with the US staff and finance team. Over the years, Shlomit has also been essential in many other parts of the organization, including administrative work, ongoing office management, and using her incredible talent in anything related to graphic design. Shlomit lives in Tel Aviv with her husband Avner and adorable son Eytan.

Tahila Pimentel, PeacePlayers Middle East

Tahila Pimentel

Communications and Development Manager

Location: Middle East
Email: tpimentel@peaceplayersorg

Tahila was born in Maputo, Mozambique, and moved to South Africa at the age of 16 to pursue her studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Tahila holds an Honors Degree in Gender and Transformation and a Master’s Degree in African Studies from UCT.


Prior to joining PeacePlayers, she worked as a researcher and writer for a number of Southern African human rights, gender, and LGBTI rights nonprofits and foundations, such as the Heinrich Boell Foundation, The Other Foundation, and Iranti-Org. In the Spring of 2017, Tahila moved to Tel Aviv, Israel, where she completed a Professional Fundraising Course from NGO Catalyst. She joined PeacePlayers Middle East in the summer of 2019, and now works in the resource development, communications, and marketing departments.

Alona Modlin, PeacePlayers Middle East

Alona Modlin

Coach and Program Coordinator

Location: Middle East

Alona was born in Russia, and moved to Israel in 2011. She played professional basketball in Elitzur Ramla for four years, and then found her passion for coaching. She joined PeacePlayers as a coach in September of 2018,and has since been coaching the younger All-Stars mixed teams. In the last few years, Alona hasalso played a significant role in coordinating activities with program managers, and most recently, she has become responsible for coordinating attendance, scheduling games.

Duha Amla

Duha Amla

Project Manager

Location: Middle East

Duha is a leader, peacebuilder, basketball player and coach, who was born and raised in a conservative village in East Jerusalem. She joined PeacePlayers in 2006 when she was only 10-years-old and has grown from being a participant to becoming an essential pillar of the program. She was a founding member of the Jerusalem All-Stars, the first and to this date, only mixed Arab-Jewish team to play in the elite Israeli league, and she was also one of the first certified female basketball coaches from East Jerusalem.


Over the past 14 years, Duha has also worked with several international peacebuilding initiatives worldwide and has shared her story to inspire others in many parts of the world including the White House and the Laureus World Sports program in both Germany and Monaco. Today, she is PP-ME’s  Program Manager in Jerusalem and is also a critical member of several PeacePlayers projects around the globe.

Musa PeacePlayers Middle East

Musa Abu-Dalu

Program Coordinator

Location: Middle East

Musa is a PeacePlayers alumnus who has recently become a coach and program coordinator for some of PP-ME’s programs in Jerusalem. He has been a part of the PeacePlayers family for over 12 years and was one of the pioneers of many PP-ME programs, including the PeacePlayers Basketball Clubs and the Leadership Development Program.

When Musa joined PeacePlayers 12 years ago, he joined to play basketball and was reluctant to interact with his Jewish peers. But after a few mixed activities, he started opening up and slowly began working together with his Jewish counterparts to achieve common goals both on and off the court. With time, Musa built life-long friendships with Arab and Jewish youth in the program and found himself standing up for peace and cooperation at home, in school, and in his community.

Today, Musa is not only a coach and coordinator but is also a prominent leader and role model for the younger youth in the program. In addition to his work at PeacePlayers, Musa is also pursuing a degree in Medicine.

Malak Ayoub

Malak Ayoub

Program Assistant and Coach

Location: Middle East

Malak is an Arab young leader from East Jerusalem, who has been with PeacePlayers for about nine years. She joined the PeacePlayers Basketball Clubs when she was only 10-years-old, and though she was skeptical at first, her father’s encouragement and her love for basketball motivated her to stay. In 2012, Malak became one of the founding members of the PeacePlayers All-Stars, and at the age of 13, she joined the Leadership Development Program (LDP) through which she received training as a coach and peace education facilitator. 


Today, Malak is a leader, a peacebuilder, and a role model for hundreds of youth leaders in and around Jerusalem. She is currently pursuing her post-secondary studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Communication, Journalism and International Relations. At PeacePlayers, she is currently working with the global team as a member of the Leadership Academy Steering Committee and is due to begin coaching again.

Ofir Middle East

Ofir Azoulay

Project Coordinator

Location: Middle East

Ofir joined PeacePlayers Middle East as a participant in 2015 and graduated from a series of programs including the All-Stars and Leadership Development Project (LDP). She earned her coach’s certification in 2018 and subsequently began coaching a number of teams in West Jerusalem. She eventually took a hiatus for her mandatory military service, but during her time there, she remained involved with PeacePlayers as an alumna. In 2022, she officially joined the organization as a Project Coordinator, to run PeacePlayers ME’s Alumni Engagement Project and oversee the youth programming in West Jerusalem.

Ephrem Yohannes Hawando

Ephrem Yohannes Hawando

Compliance Manager

Location: Middle East


Ephrem is a highly skilled and experienced professional with a diverse background. With a wide range of roles and accomplishments he has worked for organizations such as CARE International- Ethiopia, Management Systems International (MSI), the NALA Foundation,  the Whole Word for the Whole World institute (WWI), the Joseph project and Sar-El tours and conferences, and has been exposed to various facets of organizational functioning, that includes academic program administration, gender equality, women’s empowerment programming, community development, project management, and monitoring and evaluation. 


Ephrem’s strength lies in his ability to forge strategic partnerships and cooperative agreements. He has facilitated and created manuals, work instructions, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for governmental, NGOs, and business partners with the aim of identifying, responding to, and preventing risks, while ensuring adherence to all applicable regulations and organizational need. Within the business sector Ephrem demonstrated expertise in client relationship management and customer success.

Ephrem’s academic journey reflects his commitment to learning and growth. He completed an MA degree in Community Development Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and holds MSc degree in Population Studies from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He is an Israeli citizen of Ethiopian decent currently lives with his wife and 2 sons, outside of Jerusalem. Beyond work, Ephrem enjoys exploring culinary delights and participating in competitive sports. He is also active in local community activities, especially with Israelis of Ethiopian descent and African refugees in Jerusalem. 

His multifaceted skills and passion for positive change and his commitment to community development and strategic collaboration make him a valuable asset in various contexts.

Our Partners

Jerusalem International YMCA

Jerusalem International YMCA



Wingate Institute

Wingate institute

Arbinger Institute

Arbinger Institute

Israel Basketball Association

The Israeli Basketball Association


Sport - Opportunities - Lives


Jewish Federation of Greater Washington


Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund

Menashe Regional Council

Regional Council in Gilboa

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Office Address: 44 Margoza St, Tel Aviv-Yafo Israel
Phone Number: +972-3-510-2358
Hours: Sun-Thur 9:00 - 17:00

© 2024 PeacePlayers PRIVACY POLICY

PEACEPLAYERS IS A 501(c)3 EIN #52-2272902

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© 2021 PeacePlayers PRIVACY POLICY