JTA — New England Patriots football team owner Robert Kraft is taking eight current and seven former players with him to Israel.
Kraft, the billionaire philanthropist and CEO of the Kraft Group, is visiting the Jewish state to receive the Genesis Prize.
The group of former players includes stars such as Drew Bledsoe, Ty Law and Vince Wilfork. The group of current players includes longtime kicker Stephen Gostowski and Nate Ebner, a Jewish special teams player — and one of two Jews on the team (the other, wide receiver Julian Edelman, is not taking part).
“I hope it’s going to turn out to be one of the greatest weeks in your life. This is over a hundred times I’ve gone and the first time I went, on my honeymoon with my sweetheart, it just changed my life,” Kraft said to the players, according to SB Nation.
“This represents the entire history of our family’s involvement [with the Patriots] and we’re really excited.”
Kraft is currently on trial for soliciting a prostitute, but the prize foundation chairman Stan Polovets has voiced support for him. Kraft will receive the award in Jerusalem on Thursday.