NFL players to visit Israel, play exhibition game

(JTA) — A group of National Football Leaguers will visit Israel and play an exhibition game against a squad from the Israel Football Association.

Israel’s tourism and public diplomacy ministries announced the trip on Sunday, The Times of Israel reported.

The NFL delegation, which is due to arrive next week in the Jewish state, will include 12 current or former players and include visits to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem and the Black Hebrew community in the southern city of Dimona. Some of the players are expected to be baptized in the Jordan River.

The exhibition game will be held Feb. 18 in Jerusalem.

“The ministry which I lead is spearheading an intensive fight against the delegitimization and BDS campaigns against Israel, and part of this struggle includes hosting influencers and opinion-formers of international standing in different fields, including sport,” Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister Gilad Erdan said.

The NFL delegation includes Martellus Bennett of the world champion New England Patriots. Others are Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Delanie Walker, Michael Kendricks, Cameron Jordan, Kenny Stills, Calais Campbell, Carlos Hyde, Dan Williams, Justin Forsett, and ESPN commentator and former linebacker Kirk Morrison.

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