Israeli martial arts group nominated for peace award

The Israeli team, Budo for Peace, was founded in 2004 by Danny Hakim, an Australian-born businessman, philanthropist and martial-arts champion.

CHILDREN PRACTICE karate in Lod. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Budo for Peace, an Israeli organization that teaches peace and mutual respect through Japanese martial arts, was declared Regional NGO of the Year 2018 last Thursday at a ceremony in Rhodes, in a contest run by Peace and Sport.  
The Monaco-headquartered organization, which is under the patronage of Prince Albert II who visited Israel earlier this year, was founded by former French Olympian Joel Bouzou.  
Peace and Sport is a global initiative that works primarily in conflict areas in which traditional means of restoring peace and harmony have failed.
Budo for Peace works with Jewish, Arab, Bedouin and Druze youths and adults in Israel with the aim of contributing to peace through the martial arts. It also empowers women and girls to defend themselves against sexual assault, and helps children with cancer to overcome pain and fear.
The award was in recognition of the Budo for Peace fourth Martial Arts for Peace International Seminar that brought together people from countries, some of which do not have diplomatic or economic relations with each other. More than 80 participants at the seminar last February came from Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Greece, the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Participants spent a week together in training sessions and discussions while serving as models for social harmony to some 800 Jewish, Muslim and Christian youths.
Budo for Peace founder and chairman Danny Hakim, who is an international prize-winning martial arts champion, said in Rhodes that Budo for Peace is committed to continuing its journey toward social harmony, empowerment and education for future generations, with the goal of helping to create better leaders. Thrilled though he was to receive the prestigious award, Hakim said the greatest triumph was in getting people of diverse ethnic, national, religious and political backgrounds to meet each other and interact in an environment that lends itself to equality and leads to an effective change of perspective.
Hakim’s wife, Dana Azrieli, who is co-chairing the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America convening in Tel Aviv this week, will attempt to restore harmony between Israeli and Diaspora Jews – but she won’t be using martial arts. The theme of the GA is “Let’s Talk.”