Palestine-Israel team to play against Real Madrid

Members of the national team of Asian Football Confederation-member Palestine will join with players from neighbouring UEFA-member Israel in a friendly against Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid, still starring David Beckham. The Spanish team is scheduled to arrive on 19 June, just before Beckham is slated to depart for the US to join Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, with whom he signed a five-year contract earlier this year. The game is organised by the Peres Centre for Peace, founded by Nobel Peace laureate Shimon Peres in 1996 to encourage economic and grass-roots cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Real Madrid players are to meet with young Israeli and Palestinian football players during their visit. The Peres Centre's soccer program provides after-school football lessons and math and English tutoring sessions twice a week and also engages over 1,600 Israeli and Palestinian boys and girls in its "Twinned Peace Sport Schools" program, which comprises sport training (football or basketball), Peace Education instruction, auxiliary educational support and joint Palestinian-Israeli sporting and social activities.

In December last year, the Peres Centre organised a friendly between a similar Palestinian-Israeli team and a team representing the southern Spanish region of Andalusia which attracted 35,000 fans to Seville’s Sanchez Pijuan Stadium. The proceeds from the match were designated to financing schools in Palestinian territories in a project sponsored by the Andalusian regional government. The previous year, an Palestinian-Israeli team played against FC Barcelona and Palestinian-Israeli youth teams played against FC Bayern Munchen's youth teams.

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