(JNS.org) On the heels of his franchise’s latest Super Bowl title, New England Patriots owner and five-time National Football League (NFL) champion Robert Kraft has announced that he will donate $6 million to a new regulation-sized American football stadium near Jerusalem. “This isn’t a business trip. It’s something about spirituality,” said Kraft, who visitd Israel last week, Jewish Business News reported Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Set to open later this year, the stadium will be Israel’s first regulation-sized American football field and will serve the country’s growing interest in the sport. Currently, there are 1,350 active football players in Israel, with dozens of teams across the country. According to Bezalel Friedman, director of the Israel Football League, the shortage of regulation-sized football stadiums has made it difficult to continue to grow the sport in the Jewish state. The goal is to build three additional fields in Israel during the next decade. The Jerusalem football field will bear the Kraft family’s name and is being built in cooperation with the Jerusalem Foundation, Moriah – Jerusalem Development Corporation and Israel’s Sports Betting Authority, as well as with the help of Israel Football Association President Steve Leibowitz.
Meanwhile, a delegation of 11 NFL players, including Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett, arrived in Israel Feb. 13 for a seven-day visit. In addition to touring, the NFL players took part in an exhibition match with an Israeli football team.