Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with a delegation of former National Football League (NFL) players and NFL Hall of Fame members on Monday, led by NFL Champion New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
Netanyahu told the players, who wore their famous Hall of Fame Gold Jackets and many of whom are on their first visit to Israel, about the many challenges Israel faces, especially Iran's efforts to achieve nuclear weapons.
"Iran is one yard away from the goal line," he said. "If they get nukes, the preeminent terrorist regime of our day will be armed with nuclear weapons."
"That's dangerous for the United States and for Israel and for the entire world. And our effort today is to make sure that we block them and push them back," the Prime Minister said.
Netanyahu also spoke about Israel and its achievements.
"This is the number one digital powerhouse in the world," he reflected. "We're seizing the future while we're standing on our past."
"Israel is free, robust, pluralistic, divergent and rambunctious. It's the only place where people are really free, Jews, non-Jews, the only place where Muslims enjoy civic rights in the Middle East, where Christians are protected."
"To survive and thrive in this you have to be tough. I hope you go back to America to do one thing, tell the truth about Israel."
Netanyahu met with an impressive list of former NFL players and Hall-of-Famers, including:
- Carl Baker, Pro Football Hall of Fame President
- Raymond Berry, past football player for the Baltimore Colts, past coach, currently semi-retired serving as Honorary Chairman for HBW Insurance and Financial Services, Inc.
- Melvin Blount, past defensive football player for The Pittsburgh Steelers and Founder of the Mel Blount Youth Homes;
- Timothy Brown, past football player for the Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers; currently he is the General Manager and Co-Owner of the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League and an analyst for ESPN College Football;
- Curley Culp, past football player for the Kansas City Chief's, currently retired from owning two successful businesses;
- Christopher Doleman, past Defensive end Minnesota Vikings football player;
- John Hannah, past football player for the New England Patriots;
- Michael Haynes, past Defensive back football player for the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Raiders, Founder of Mike Haynes & Associates, prostate cancer survivor and the spokesperson for the KnowYourStats awareness campaign, marketing consultant in the health and wellness arena, and also an NFL certified Transition Coach;
- Kenneth Houston, past football player for the Houston Oilers and Washington Redskins, currently he serves as a guidance counselor for children in hospitals;
- Paul Krause, past football player for the Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings, currently he is involved in real estate development and insurance, and he owns several restaurants;
- Floyd Little, past football player for the Denver Broncos, former President and owner of Pacific Coast Ford;
- Thomas Mack, past football player for the Los Angeles Rams, worked for Bechtel in many VP positions;
- Curtis Martin, past football player for the New England Patriots and the New York Jets, created the Curtis Martin Job Foundation;
- Ronald Mix, past football player for the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, currently an attorney;
- James Taylor, past football player for the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, currently has real estate investments properties;
- Thurman Thomas Jr, past football player for the Buffalo Bills, currently is the Principal and EVP owner of 3480 group;
- Andre Tippett, past football player for the New England Patriots, currently is Executive Directive of Community Affairs for the New England Patriots, and also on many academic and sports related advisory boards;
- Roger Wehrli, past football player for the St. Louis Cardinals;
- Larry Wright, past football player for the Dallas Cowboys, founder of the Rayfield Wright Foundation;
- and Herbert Youngblood III, past football player for the Los Angeles Rams, volunteer, maintains a farm in FL, Sits on the Honorary Advisory Board of the St. Louis Rams.
The players gave the Prime Minister a jersey with his name, a football and a helmet – "The helmet for good defense and the ball for touchdowns."