Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72) and Cliff Avril (56) (AP/David Goldman) (AP/David Goldman)
NFL stars

A group of NFL stars is coming to visit the Jewish state, where they will enjoy the pleasures it has to offer and, most important, show the world what Israel is really about. 

A delegation of NFL (American football league) stars is scheduled to arrive in the Holy Land next week for a seven-day visit.

An initiative of the Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy in cooperation with the Tourism Ministry, the group of 11 players will meet with a wide range of Israelis from different walks of life.

The group will visit all the tourism hotspots ,such as Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Tel Aviv and Haifa, as well as Christian sites in the Galilee, including the Jordan River’s Yardenit Baptismal site.

They will also play an exhibition game with the Israeli Football Association.

“I see great importance in the arrival of this delegation of NFL stars to Israel. I have no doubt that their visit will be a powerful experience for them and I hope that, through their visit, they will get a balanced picture of Israel, the opposite from the false incitement campaign that is being waged against Israel around the world,” said Minister for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Gilad Erdan, who is entrusted with combating the anti-Israel organizations that instigate boycotts against the Jewish state.

“I hope that the players will present the beautiful face of Israel to their tens of millions of fans in the United States. The ministry which I lead is spearheading an intensive fight against the de-legitimization and BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) campaigns against Israel, and part of this struggle includes hosting influencers and opinion-formers of international standing in different fields, including sport,” he explained.

Israel’s Goodwill Ambassadors

Super Bowl XLVIII Champions Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, the duo of starting defensive ends for the vaunted Seattle Seahawks defense, along with Martellus Bennett, Michael’s younger brother and Pro Bowl New England Patriots Tight End, will be part of the delegation.

Joining them will be the featured Tight End for the Tennessee Titans Delanie Walker, speedy Philadelphia Eagles Defensive End Michael Kendricks, 2x Pro Bowl Defensive End for the New Orleans Saints Cameron Jordan, versatile Wide Receiver for the Miami Dolphins Kenny Stills, 2x Pro Bowler and star Defensive End for the Arizona Cardinals Calais Campbell, San Francisco 49ers starting running back Carlos Hyde, Defensive Tackle for the Oakland Raiders Dan Williams, and Veteran Denver Broncos Running Back Justin Forsett. ESPN Football Commentator and former NFL Linebacker Kirk Morrison rounds out the delegation.

“Football stars are a source of inspiration for all American citizens. I am sure that, after the experiences that the players will enjoy in Israel and after they have seen the unique tourist sites and the special atmosphere here, they will become ambassadors of goodwill for Israel,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin.

“The Tourism Ministry is hosting this delegation as part of its policy to promote sports tourism, which has become an engine for economic growth around the world. The visit of this delegation, in such proximity to the American Super Bowl final, will enhance the exposure of the Israel tourism product to tens of millions of the players’ followers on social media,” he added.

This is not the first time Israel has welcomed American sports stars.

Most recently, American baseball pros were in Israel last month to promote the favorite American sport while connecting with their heritage and Jewish identity.

By: United with Israel Staff

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