By: Jerusalem Post Sports Staff; jpost.com
The group will tour Jewish and Christian sites and experience the sights, sounds and tastes of the Holy Land.
A week after the Super Bowl, a group of top NFL players began a whirlwind six-day tour of Israel on Wednesday. The group will tour Jewish and Christian sites, experience the sights, sounds and tastes of the Holy Land, meet Israel’s president and prime minister, receive briefings from Israeli leaders of tech, innovation, security, diplomacy and international aid, and encourage the growth of football in Israel. The trip is organized by America’s Voices in Israel, a nonprofit that provides high-profile Americans with the opportunity to experience Israel firsthand.
The seven NFL players on the group are Josh Norman of the Washington Redskins who is considered one of the top Cornerbacks in the league, Chris Harris Jr. of the Denver Broncos a Super Bowl Champ, three time NFL All-Pro and three time Pro Bowler, Vic Beasley of the Atlanta Falcons who was named First Team All-Pro, Avery Williamson who led his Tennessee Titans with back-to-back 100-tackle seasons, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, tight end for the New York Jets, Mitch Schwartz, offensive tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs and his brother Geoff, who retired in 2017 after nine years as an offensive lineman.
Some of the players have been joined by their spouses and other family.
The group arrived late on Tuesday night. Today, they will head to the north of the country for two days to tour Christian sites including the Sea of Galilee where some group members will be baptized. They will also hear about Innovation Africa’s success bringing advanced Israeli technologies to the most remote areas in Africa and visit a few of the thousands of wounded Syrians who were evacuated by the IDF for treatment in Israeli hospitals.
On Friday night, the football players will experience Sabbath prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem and on Saturday night, they will join Kraft Family Israel Football League players on-field at Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem. The NFL pros will pose for photos and sign autographs for Israeli football players and fans. There are 1,350 active football players in Israel with a semi-professional tackle league and dozens of high school teams.
Some of the highlights of their time in Jerusalem will include a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s National Memorial of the Holocaust; a meeting with Israel President Reuven Rivlin; a briefing with Ze’ev Elkin, the Minister of Jerusalem Affairs; a tour of the Western Wall and a chance to experience the nightlife of the outdoor- Mahane Yehuda market.
On Monday, the final day of the trip, they [had] a chance to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his Jerusalem office.
The trip was kept under wraps until the group landed, as last year players were pressured by BDS activists to cancel their plans to come to Israel.
The trip was organized in cooperation with the Jerusalem Affairs Ministry, led by Ze’ev Elkin