Even in the most troubled areas of the world, the cultural influences of football are felt. As depicted in a photography project started by Gad Salner and Vadim Tarasov, locals of the Arab north and Jewish south of Israel both embrace their lower league football sides with as much passion for the game as you could see anywhere around.
The project entitled, ‘Kaduregel-Shefel,’ which loosely translates to ‘low’ football, conveys the apolitical escape that football offers to the Israeli and Palestine regions. Remarkably, this lower league Middle Eastern football scene sees tensions between the two sides exchanged for sporting contest – illustrating the power football has to break down boundaries between different people and cultures.
Hapoel Katamon, for example, is a club playing in the second tier of Israel’s football leagues, formed by fans of Hapoel Jerusalem in 2007 who had become disillusioned with the team’s management. As such, the club represents socialist values, promotes co-existence and equality as well as priding themselves on condemning violence.
Those from the outside looking into Israel and Palestine through the looking glass that western media provides would be forgiven for thinking that such sensations are impossible, or at least unimportant as a result of the conflicts. However, the photographs portray football fanbases with a genuine love for their club, conjured from nothing but the raw impression that the sport creates at this level.
The full collection of Salner and Tarasov’s work can be found on here.