Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO) (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Netanyahu NFL Kraft

Prime Minister Netanyahu met with NFL stars, presenting the many challenges Israelis face and asked them to go home and tell the truth about Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Monday with a delegation of 20 former National Football League players and NFL Hall of Fame members, led by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

This is the first visit to Israel for many of the group members.

Netanyahu told the players, who wore their famous Hall of Fame Gold Jackets, about the many challenges Israel faces, especially concerning Iran’s efforts to achieve nuclear weapons. Using American football terminology, he explained:

Iran is one yard away from the goal line. If they get nukes, the preeminent terrorist regime of our day will be armed with nuclear weapons. That’s dangerous for the United States and for Israel and for the entire world. And our effort today is to make sure that we block them and push them back.”

Netanyahu NFL

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with former american football players. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Netanyahu also discussed Israel’s unique achievements, saying, “This is the number one digital powerhouse in the world. We’re seizing the future while we’re standing on our past.”

As the only true democracy in the Middle East, “Israel is free, robust, pluralistic, divergent and rambunctious,” he continued. “It’s the only place where people are really free, Jews, non-Jews, the only place where Muslims enjoy civic rights in the Middle East, where Christians are protected. To survive and thrive in this you have to be tough. I hope you go back to America to do one thing, tell the truth about Israel.”

The players, including Mel Blount, John Hannah, Tim Brown, Curley Culp, Thurman Thomas, Curtis Martin, Andre Tippett and Raymond Berry, gave the prime minister a jersey with his name, a football and a helmet – “the helmet for good defense and the ball for touchdowns.”