Martellus Bennett of the world champion New England Patriots may not be going to visit Trump in the White House, but he will be going to Israel.
On Sunday, Israel’s tourism and public diplomacy ministries announced that Bennett and 11 other NFLers will be traveling together to experience the Holy Land—to eat its food, to visit its sites, to meet its people. Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister, said he wanted the players to see “a balanced picture of Israel, the opposite from the false incitement campaign that is being waged against Israel around the world,” reported The Times of Israel.
The funder for the trip was not disclosed. Other active NFL players joining along are Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Martellus Bennett, Delanie Walker, Michael Kendricks, Cameron Jordan, Kenny Stills, Calais Campbell, Carlos Hyde, Dan Williams, and Justin Forsett, and former linebacker Kirk Morrison. In Israel, they will visit the Rambam hospital in Haifa, Yad Vashem, Dimona, and the Jordan River site of Yardenit, where some of the players will be baptized.
On Feb. 18, they will play in an exhibition against the Israeli Football Association players, whom I never knew existed. Make your bets now.
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.