US football stars open state-of-the-art sports campus in Jerusalem

The Jerusalem mayor and a leading philanthropist, together other donors and a Pro Football Hall of Fame delegation, opened the Kraft Family Sports Campus.

A star-studded delegation of National Football League (NFL) celebrities, boasting names such as Joe Montana, Roger Staubach, and Jerome Bettis, came to Israel for a one-week visit,  dubbed “Touchdown in Israel II – We Are All Patriots,” at the behest of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The former players toured the Jewish state in addition to participating in the inauguration of a new football field and sports complex that Kraft had helped fund in an effort to increase the sport’s popularity in Israel.

The state-of-the-art complex, located near Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood, is the second such field largely sponsored by Kraft, who donated $6 million for the project. The first, Kraft Stadium, was built in 2005, next to the capital’s  Sachar Park.

Mifal Hapais – Israel’s national lottery – and Toto, the Israel Sports Betting Board, also contributed towards the new complex.

“Robert has been an unwavering partner in the growth and development of Jerusalem.” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat stated. “This gift, which helps celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification, furthers Robert and his family’s commitment to the capital of Israel and to enhancing sport and particularly football in Jerusalem.”

Kraft, a known supporter of Israel, held a moment of silence in 2015, before a Patriots game, for Ezra Schwartz, a Boston native who was killed in a terror attack in Israel just days earlier. He also hosted Schwartz’s family at the Super Bowl four months ago.

“The Kraft Family Sports Campus allows me to invest in two things that I have always been very passionate about: My love of Israel and my support for youth athletics and team sports, especially American football,” said Kraft. “I fell in love with Israel on my first visit in 1963 and have been investing in its future ever since…

My family and I are proud to establish this large scale, multi-sports complex, which is the first of its kind in Jerusalem.”

The Kraft Family Sports Campus, developed by the Jerusalem Development Company – Moriah, is being established in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Jerusalem Foundation.

The campus will open to the public in two weeks for the 20th Maccabiah Games.

By: Tzvi Lev, World Israel News