American Jewish actor Jeremy Piven, best known for his portrayal of lovably ruthless agent Ari Gold in HBO’s Entourage TV series, joined a string of NBA players and other celebrities on a trip to Israel from Thursday, courtesy of basketball player Omri Casspi’s foundation to promote the Jewish state.

The group will spend the coming days visiting locations across Israel, including a planned meeting Sunday with hundreds of children in the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Ramle.

Also on the trip is basketball star Amar’e Stoudemire, who this week signed a two-year contract with Hapoel Jerusalem. According to the Israel Museum, art collector Stoudemire will spend Tuesday touring the institution and meeting with children and local artists.

“I’m so excited for the 2nd annual Omri Casspi Foundation trip to Israel,” Casspi wrote in a Hebrew and English Facebook post on Wednesday.

NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire and President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on Thursday, July 18, 2013. (Shimon Peres Facebook page)

NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire and President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on Thursday, July 18, 2013. (Shimon Peres Facebook page)

“Our group this year sharing Celebrities [sic] from different platforms – NBA, WNBA, UFC, Hollywood, so we can reach the most diverse populations, and show to the world – how beautiful our Israel really is,” he wrote.

Casspi, who currently plays for the Sacramento Kings, posted a series of images on the social media site of the start of the trip. Accompanying him are NBA players Shawn Marion, Beno Udrih, Rudy Gay and Donald Sloan, as well as Alysha Clark and Mistie Bass of the Women’s National Basketball Association and top-ranked poker player Maria Ho.

Casspi organized his first celebrity visit last year, bringing with him seven NBA players, including teammates DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, and Caron Butler.

“You sit around a locker room, and you talk about your home. I always tell my teammates, ‘Come see my side of the world. I go to your house when we go to Washington. Come meet my parents, my brother, my sister.’ It’s literally as simple as that,” Casspi said about last year’s trip, according to the Sacramento Bee.

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