It sounds counterintuitive, but the Arab and Jewish children learning karate through a network of martial arts clubs called Budo for Peace, are also learning valuable lessons in how to get along.

Around 400 children participate in the 20 or so clubs throughout northern Israel.

“Our goal is to bring children who are in conflict areas to understand about respect, tolerance, non-violence, and break down the barriers of ignorance and fear,” says founder Danny Hakim, a sixth-degree black belt and a two-time Karate World Championships silver medalist.

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Bringing conflicting populations together is a challenge, he admits, but Hakim believes his method leads to greater harmony among children from the two cultures. Parents report that interaction between the villages is growing.

Now interest in the clubs is growing from abroad.