“It is a land which Hashem your God looks after, on which Hashem your God always keeps His eye, from year’s beginning to year’s end.” Deuteronomy 11:12 (The Israel Bible™)
Barely one week after the Super Bowl, seven of the top NFL players are on a six-day tour of Israel after landing in the Jewish state on Tuesday night. Their visit has already evoked feelings of awe and wonder at the sense of spirituality and connection with God in the land of Israel.
“In Israel, more than anything, you know that you are standing on holy ground,” Vic Beasley of the Atlanta Falcons told reporters.
Beasley made his remarks during a tour of Shiloh, the home of the ancient Tabernacle for 369 years.
He had also taken the time meditate on the Biblical story of Hannah praying for a son at the site of the Tabernacle.
In her wretchedness, she prayed to Hashem, weeping all the while. I Samuel 1:10
Beasley is known for using his religious belief to overcome personal and professional challenges. He frequently posts Bible verses on social media and has spoken in interviews about how his faith in God helped him to cope with his father’s recent death.
Josh Norman of the Washington Redskins, considered one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks, had a similar experience in Shiloh.
“There is a power that comes over you, an aura you can’t really describe,” Norman said.
He also spoke of a prayer session that the players had at the site.
“Me and my brothers we said a prayer. It was an energy, a force. You know that something is powerful here. God is moving in a powerful way. You can experience his awesomeness.”
Norman is active in the churches of Greenwood, South Carolina where he lives. He has also been involved in charitable initiatives including donations of large sums towards hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.
The other NFL players on the tour were Chris Harris Jr of the Denver Broncos, Avery Williamson of the Tennessee Titans, Austin Seferian-Jenkins of the NY Jets, Mitch Schwartz of the Kansas City Chiefs, and his brother Geoff who retired in 2017 after a 9-year career playing for several different teams. Some of the players were joined by their family.
The trip to Israel is the first visit for Geoff and Mitch Schwartz, who are both Jewish.
In addition to touring the many Jewish and Christian sites as well as experiencing life in the Holy Land, the players will also be meeting with Israeli officials including President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The players will even take time out of their busy schedules to encourage the growth of American football in Israel. They will meet with Israel Football League (IFL) players on-field at the Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem and pose for photos as well as sign autographs for Israeli football players and fans. Currently, there are 1,350 active football players in Israel as well as a semi-professional tackle league and dozens of high school teams.
The trip was organized by America’s Voices in Israel, a nonprofit that provides high-profile Americans with the opportunity to experience Israel firsthand.