After the Cup: Sons of Sakhnin United
There are over 1.4 million Arabs who are citizens of Israel, facing the challenge of living in a Jewish state while maintaining their Arabic heritage. In Israel, soccer is king, and Bnei Sakhnin has become the first team from an Arab town to win the prestigious Israeli Cup— and represent Israel in European competition. Fielding Arab, Jewish and foreign—born players, owned by an Arab, and coached by a Jew, Bnei Sakhnin’s success has begun to represent a symbol of coexistence, a potential bridge between Arabs and Jews in Israel. But as Bnei Sakhnin begins its first season after their unexpected win, they know it may well be their first and last in the limelight. As the ideals born in the heady days and weeks following their cup win collide with the realities of a long season competing against the more talented and better funded teams, Bnei Sakhnin must fight to survive in Israel’s premier league. These challenges, and the weight of impossible expectations that have come with their sudden success, threaten to crush the team and all of the hope and goodwill that its historic victory inspired. AFTER THE CUP tells the story of a soccer team that couldn’t create a new Middle East, but showed the world what one could look like.