ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

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Knicks star Stoudemire seeks Israeli citizenship

Power forward who claims Hebrew roots and is currently touring Israel says he is spiritual rather than religious

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)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Amar’e Stoudemire, the New York Knicks star who claims Hebrew roots and is currently touring Israel, is seeking Israeli citizenship.

Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walters, told New York magazine that the Knicks’ power forward is in the process of becoming an Israeli.

“He’s getting citizenship,” Walters said. ”He applied, and he’s there now.”

Stoudemire went to Israel for the Maccabiah Games as the assistant coach of the Canadian basketball squad. The games ended earlier this week.

Stoudemire’s Jewish connections have been the source of much media fascination in recent months. At his wedding last year to Alexis Welch, Stoudemire donned a yarmulke and prayer shawl for the “Hebraic” ceremony.

In July, he announced he had become a part owner in the Israeli basketball club Hapoel Jerusalem. And in an interview in Jerusalem last month with JTA, Stoudemire said he is in regular dialogue with New York rabbis, studies Torah and observes the High Holidays.

“I’m not a religious person, I’m more of a spiritual person, so I follow the rules of the Bible that coordinate with and connect with the Hebrew culture,” Stoudemire said.

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