Football fans don’t need to be saddened after today’s game is over, because 11 NFL stars are set to play against Israel’s national football team on February 18th in Israel.
Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy and Tourism Ministry are leading the initiative to bring Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Martellus Bennett, Delanie Walker, Mychal Kendricks, Kenny Stills, Cameron Jordan, Calais Campbell, Carlos Hyde, Dan Williams and Justin Forsett to Israel to help show Israel’s “true face” to the rest of the world. In light of the historical hatred that Israeli athletes face on a regular basis during sports competitions, this is a truly welcome development.
While it is an open question as to whether the Patriots or the Falcons will walk away from today’s game as the winner, it is fairly likely to assume that these 11 players will beat Israel’s national team, even though the American delegation doesn’t even include a quarterback. The NFL players are doing far more than just playing a game while in Israel. Their trip’s agenda includes “visit[ing] Rambam hospital in Haifa, the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem and the Black Hebrew community in Dimona…Players will also visit the Jordan River site of Yardenit, where some will undergo baptism.”
Here’s to international sportsmanship!