Robert Kraft (L) hands PM Benjamin Netanyahu a helmet signed by the New England Patriots in February 2012. (Amos BenGershom/GPO/Flash90) (Amos BenGershom/GPO/Flash90)
Robert Kraft and Netanyahu

Led by New England Patriots owner and leading pro-Israel philanthropist Robert Kraft and Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker, 18 football stars are visiting the Jewish state.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker are leading an 18-member delegation of sports celebrities to Israel named “Touchdown in Israel II – We Are All Patriots,” The Jerusalem Post reported.

The group of Football Hall of Famers began their weeklong visit to Israel on Thursday.

“It is so special to bring the best of the best to ever play my favorite sport to my favorite country in the world,” Kraft told The Jerusalem Post. “In almost 100 years of the NFL, I don’t believe a group of this caliber has ever come together outside of the US, and I am very proud to be able to put this trip together.”

The itinerary includes a visit to the holy sites as well as witnessing a local team play on a small field in Ramat Hasharon, near Tel Aviv.

“When the mainstream media speaks about Israel, it is usually brought up as a place not to visit,” delegation member Marshall Faulk told the Post. “But so far, our experience in Tel Aviv has been nothing short of incredible.”

The “Gold Jackets” will also be hosted by the American football community in Israel at Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem on Sunday, the Post continued. It will include an opportunity for the visitors to “meet and greet” Israeli fans.

In November 2015, the New England Patriots held a moment of silence for Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year-old American-Jewish student and ardent football fan who was murdered just days earlier by a Palestinian terrorist at the Gush Etzion junction. The memorial was held ahead of a face-off with the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Kraft, a leading pro-Israel philanthropist and frequent visitor to the Jewish state, immediately embraced the idea after being approached by a group that included former Member of Knesset Dov Lipman, who had immigrated to Israel from the US.

Four months ago, in yet another gesture of kindness, Kraft treated relatives of the young terror victim to VIP seats at the Super Bowl.

Among his other many acts of philanthropy, in 2015 he donated $20 million to fund personalized medicine in Israel.

By: United with Israel Staff