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Monday, June 15, 2015

Bob Kraft does it again: NFL Hall of Famers coming to Israel

New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft (pictured here with his wife Myra a"h - may she rest in peace) will be bringing a group of 19 NFL Hall of Famers to Israel later this week along with the former players' guests. Kraft is not only bringing them - he's picking up the bill (Hat Tip: Mike P).
On Tuesday, a plane carrying Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker and 19 Pro Football Hall of Famers will leave for Israel.
The backstory: About a year ago, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, visited Canton with his son and staff. Dermer, a Miami-born former quarterback who is in the Israeli American Football Hall of Fame, suggested they should arrange for some of the gold jackets to visit Israel. Kraft, a champion of the NFL’s international efforts and sponsor of the Israeli Football League, stepped in to make the idea happen, starting with the funding (Kraft is paying for the trip, including travel and accommodations for 19 Hall of Famers and their guests).
During the weeklong “Touchdown in Israel” trip, Baker and the Hall of Famers will attend a scrimmage of the Israeli national team, which is preparing for its first international competition, and host an event at the Kraft Family Stadium, the American football facility in Jerusalem that Kraft funded the construction of in 2000. There’s never been this kind of trip, with this many Hall of Famers coming together as international ambassadors for their sport and their country.
“Robert Kraft has a great heart for growing the game through the world,” Baker says. “It’s a historic trip for the NFL, the Hall of Fame and our game, and I hope it is the first of many. Politics causes divides, but sports has an ability to unite.”
Among the Hall of Famers traveling: Andre Tippett, Tim Brown, Jim Taylor, Mike Haynes, Jack Youngblood and Curtis Martin, who was a regular guest at Kraft and his late wife Myra’s home for the Jewish holidays during his Patiots career. The Krafts planted a tree in Martin’s name during one of their philanthropic visits to Israel, which the running back will get to see in person for the first time.
Martin says witnessing how the game is growing outside the U.S. will be educational for him, as someone who’s been interested in breaking into NFL ownership. The Hall of Famers will also have the chance to visit religious landmarks and meet with Israeli government officials. “We all need a different understanding of Israel,” Martin says. “And to see it in this way, it could be the most significant trip any of us has ever been on.”
 Anyone know how to get tickets to the event at Kraft Family Stadium? It's here in Jerusalem....

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