The players visited a local hospital called the Ziv Medical Center in northern Israel. The players visited a local hospital called the Ziv Medical Center in northern Israel. The players visited a local hospital called the Ziv Medical Center in northern Israel. (Photo: Courtesy)

7 NFL players travel to Israel for trip of a lifetime

About a week after the Super Bowl, a group of top NFL players has begun a whirlwind 6-day tour of the Mediterranean country.

With the Philadelphia Eagles taking home the Vince Lombardi trophy after the Super Bowl, you'd think the players of the NFL would be enjoying some down time now that the season is over. But seven of them just hopped on a plane to Israel for a whirlwind week-long tour of the country.

While in Israel, they will tour historical sites, visit Jerusalem's outdoor markets, enjoy modern Israeli cuisine and receive briefings from the country's tech and innovation leaders. They will also meet with humanitarian groups like Innovation: Africa, which has helped nearly a million people have electricity and clean drinking water in rural Africa.

The traveling delegation includes Carolina Panther Geoff Schwartz and current Kansas City Chief Mitch Schwartz, who are brothers; as well as Avery Williamson from the Tennessee Titans, Austin Seferian-Jenkins from the New York Jets, Vic Beasley from the Atlanta Falcons, Chris Harris Jr. from the Denver Broncos and Josh Norman from the Washington Redskins. Some are also traveling with their spouses and significant others.

From left to right: Mitchell Schwartz, Vic Beasley, Joshua Norman, Geoff Schwartz, Avery Williamson and Chris Harris Jr. From left to right: Mitchell Schwartz, Vic Beasley, Joshua Norman, Geoff Schwartz, Avery Williamson and Chris Harris Jr. (Photo: Courtesy)

On Saturday night, the visiting players will join the Israel Football League players on-field at the Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem. The NFL pros will pose for photos and sign autographs for fans at the event.

While Israel is widely known as a country steeped in basketball, football has been gaining momentum as of late. There are 1,350 active football players in Israel with a semi-professional tackle league and dozens of high school teams. Last year, Yaniv Kovalski became the first Israeli-born football player to earn a college scholarship in America.

In recent years, NFL players have been coming over to Israel with more frequency. Last year, 19 Hall of Famers visited, including former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana and former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown. Both trips were organized by America’s Voices in Israel, a nonprofit that provides celebrities with the opportunity to experience Israel firsthand, as well as in cooperation with the Ministry of Jerusalem affairs led by Minister Ze'ev Elkin.

Vic Beasley from the Atlanta Falcons in Israel. Vic Beasley from the Atlanta Falcons in Israel. (Photo: Courtesy)

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