The Longest Yard

Longest-yard

NFL Hall of Famers laud Israelis’ sense of family, love for their country

1,000 local fans flock to Jerusalem’s Kraft Family Stadium to meet with some of the 18 ‘Gold Jackets’

 June 19, 2017, 6:44 am 1
In this Sunday June 19 photo, 18 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame are introduced by HOF President David Baker at Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem. (Jacob Magid/Times of Israel)

In this Sunday June 18, 2017 photo, 18 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame are introduced by HOF President David Baker at Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem. (Jacob Magid/Times of Israel)

A number of National Football League Hall of Famers on a visit to Israel on Sunday hailed the sense of “family” shared by Israelis and their love of country.

Eighteen NFL “Gold Jackets” were in Israel for the week-long trip hosted by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, as part of an effort to promote the sport in a country that primarily sees “football” as soccer. Still, over the past two decades, “American football” has found its niche in Israel, and currently boasts over 2,000 active players in various leagues.

On Sunday evening, over 1,000 fans flocked to Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem for a ceremony honoring the Patriots owner, followed by a meet-and-greet with the all-time greats. The star-studded lineup included Roger Staubach, Jim Brown, Eric Dickerson, and “Mean” Joe Greene.

“The people here are wonderful,” said four-time Super Bowl champion Joe Montana.

During a short address to attendees, Kraft said he was fortunate to have been alive during the establishment of Israel in 1948. Listing characteristics he admired about the Jewish state, the Patriots owner cited “great hope, great preparation, never giving up, and winning — and you know we like that one,” he quipped.

Six-time pro-bowler Jerome Bettis went even further, praising the “love affair that Israelis have with their country.” He said that he and his wife stayed up late discussing their experience in Jerusalem, and that the visit had “changed our lives.”

“Here, it feels like family,” Staubach said, going on to praise what he described as the country’s “resilience” on the battlefield.

The fans, almost exclusively of American background, appeared no less excited. Little Hebrew could be heard and quite a few attendees were wearing jerseys of their favorite NFL players. Some, however, had shirts representing Israel’s eight tackle football teams.

In this Thursday, June 15, 2017 photo, former NFL player Aeneas Williams takes selfie with an Israeli football player in Ramat Hasharon, near Tel Aviv, Israel. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Meir Goldstein of Modiin said driving in to Jerusalem for the event was an easy decision. “I stay up late every Sunday during football season to watch games live, so I was not going to miss an opportunity to meet some of the greatest to ever play the game.”

On Thursday, the NFL greats watched scrimmages between various high school teams, including the six-time defending league champions Kfar Saba Hawks, who have become an unlikely breeding ground of future commandos in the Israeli military. Together with the eight flag football leagues for men, women and youth, there are currently some 80 teams playing football in Israel.

Joe Montana (middle) waves to fans at Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem on June 18, 2017. (Jacob Magid/Times of Israel)

The latest football mission came on the heels of the Israeli government’s bungled attempt earlier this year to arrange a goodwill visit of current NFL players, half of whom eventually pulled out amid pressure from pro-Palestinian boycott activists.

Kraft, who is Jewish, has brought some of his Patriots on visits before, and in 2015 arranged for a group of 19 lesser-known Hall of Famers to come promote the sport. But nothing came close to the star power of the delegation currently in Israel.

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“Ahh the smell of football on Sunday”

“The Israeli government was not at all involved in planning this trip,” said one of the event’s organizers, Ruthie Lieberman. “The players are not the mouthpieces of Israeli hasbara (advocacy), but they are definitely enjoying the positive aspects of Israel while here.”

~At least they say they are!

Lieberman added that the delegation would be meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before returning home on Tuesday. ~Maybe we can get a shot of Joe Montana bent over at Yid Vashem?

Asked if he felt that he was receiving a balanced view of the conflict on the trip, Super Bowl XX champion Mike Singletary admitted, “You’re never going to get the full picture.” However, he added, they had spoken with a group of young Palestinians earlier that day and he felt that “both sides” had been presented. ~How about the side where Jews tied you up like farm animals and brought you to America, most of which were tossed overboard to the sharks? Big black Mike has no comment.

Fans applaud as the NFL Hall of Famers are introduced at a June 18, 2017 ceremony at Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem. (Jacob Magid/Times of Israel)

Speaking with The Times of Israel after the ceremony, Kraft addressed his decision to hold a moment of silence prior to a November 2015 game in memory of Ezra Schwartz, a native of Sharon, Massachusetts, who had been killed in a West Bank terror attack.

“I heard he used to put on a Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) jersey and FaceTime with his family for the whole game. It just resonated… and we wanted to recognize him as a great symbol of what shouldn’t happen,” he said.

Friends of Ezra Schwartz honor his memory at the November 23, 2015 New England Patriots Game, where a moment of silence was observed for Schwartz (Facebook)

AP contributed to this report.

I gave up football and cheese a long time ago and maybe you should too! Pretty soon our choice of tissue paper will have to be Jew approved. It is sick folks! You are on the Jews team or you are with Yashua (Jesus) and no he was not a “Jew”. If any of you care to defend that he was or is……..get on this field with me right now!

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4 Responses to The Longest Yard

  1. Chris says:

    Where was Andrew Anglinstein?

  2. Roy says:

    10 years ago or so, Daryl Bradford Smith stated that he had a personal relationship with Tom Brady and that he had informed Brady of the Jew’s involvement in 9-11. Smith said Brady said, “he agreed”. If true……………….you can only imagine the pressure he must have been under keeping this information under wraps knowing full well that his boss was a Jew.

    Tom Brady will very well regret his decision not to speak out, if true. Too many “Rich Young Rulers” in this world.

    Sadly……………DBS turned out to be a “traitor” to his race. Just another piece of crap in a long line of pieces of crap.

    • melgibstein says:

      DBS knows me and once tried to discredit me because I exposed Kaye Griggs telling everyone she was part Jew herself. I have run across many so called anti Jew or anti Zio people on the internet that want nothing to do with me and I find that rather odd. I consider everyone an ally who calls a Jew a Jew and means it. I found out the long way that many are there to lead the movement astray. I’m not saying DBS was absolutely one of those but he has something holding him back, he’s a smart guy, but somehow he just wont accept that Jews are the people destroying this planet. Maybe he married one, maybe he has some in the family, whatever it is he had to pull out. Im in this till I drop!
      When someone avoids me and does it without reason I have to think that they know I know too much.

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