June 13, 2010 / 1 Tammuz, 5770
Israel’s 14th tennis center was built through an 18 million NIS investment by the Acre Municipality, Netvision 013 of the IDB group, and the Jewish Agency through a donation of the Meirhoff Fund and the Zeiden family. The opening ceremony at the Acre Regional Tennis Center was held in the presence of Acre’s Mayor Shimon Lankry; Nochi Dankner, Chairman of the IDB group; Allan Hoffman, Director General of the Jewish Agency; and Janine Strauss, Director General of the Israel Tennis Center (ITC). Tennis star Shachar Pe’er appeared at the opening exhibition game at the new center playing Ofri Lankry, an ITC graduate from Acre.
The new center is the product of the joint effort that began after the Second Lebanon War to strengthen communities situated near the lines of conflict in both Northern and Southern Israel. It is intended to serve the residents of Acre and of the entire Western Galilee region with the goal of contributing towards the advancement of children and youth and integrating them into the ITC elite program, which is committed to training champions to represent the State of Israel in the Israeli tennis team, and to expose them to current graduates of the Center such as Shachar Pe’er, Dudi Sela, Andi Ram and others.
The Acre Regional Tennis Center is one of the ITC’s 14 tennis centers from Be’er Sheva in the south to Kiryat Shemona in the north. These centers serve a combined total of 13 thousand children.
“We commend the Acre Municipality and the mayor, Mr. Shimon Lankry, and all partners in the project, for joining as the 14th center of the ITC, which has been working for 35 years toward promoting excellence and social change through sports,” Janine Strauss, Director General of ITC, said in the opening ceremony.
IDB Chairman Nochi Dankner stated that, “We at the IDB group feel very gratified over the completion of this important project, which marks yet another level of the IDB group’s efforts on behalf of the towns in the Galilee and the Negev. We will continue to work in order to guarantee that every young man and young woman is able to actualize his or her talents and aspirations and earn a good, proper education. Tennis is a sport in which excellence requires personal stamina and an exceptionally high level of determination. I therefore see the new tennis center as not only offering the unique potential of raising the future generation of Israeli tennis players, but also as a home that will produce young people who succeed and excel in various areas. Perhaps our future leaders will also emerge from here.”
Allan Hoffman, Director General of the Jewish Agency, said, “The Jewish Agency works toward narrowing the societal gaps in Israel and the advancement of children and youth in communities in the nation’s periphery. The cooperation between the Jewish Agency and its partners in building this center strengthens and advances Israel society.”
“The Tennis Center is a platform for social values that will serve as a home for all the children of Acre and the surrounding area,” said Acre Mayor Shimon Lankry.
The center features 13 tennis courts, with the main court serving as a mini-stadium with a seating capacity of 500. An executive building is currently being constructed, which will include an exercise room, a lecture hall, a trainer’s room and a computer room.
ITC runs athletic and educational and other communal programs with the goal of narrowing the gaps between children of different backgrounds and equipping them with leadership skills. Programs that will be run at the new Acre Tennis Center include programs for: at-risk children, promoting coexistence, children with special needs, new immigrants, preschoolers, as well as a variety of tennis competitions and achievement programs.