Krafts join Mass. Governor on Israel mission

As the Krafts make their visit to Jerusalem, IFLHigh will put on a game between the Kfar Saba Hawks and Boyer Predators.

March 8, 2011 04:17
2 minute read.
Robert Kraft (right) and Steve Leibowitz.

robert kraft in israel_311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

New England Patriots owner and philanthropist Robert Kraft and his wife Myra are in Israel along with 30 New England-area business leaders on Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Innovation Economy Mission.

The group will take part in industry forums, company visits and meetings with Israeli business leaders and government officials in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem.

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One of their most important visits, however, will be to Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem on Thursday night to watch tackle football games of the Israel Football League.

Established nearly four years ago through the generous donations of the Kraft Family Foundation, the Kraft Family Israel Football League has recently expanded its grassroots efforts to offer a high school tackle football league to the Israeli public.

The high school version of the IFL – IFLHigh – was launched this year with five teams spanning from Jerusalem to Kfar Saba to Kiryat Ono. As tackle football grows in popularity in Israel, the push has been made to establish an outlet for kids to get involved at an early age.

“Using many of the players and coaches from the Israel Football League to help get the high school league up and running has been a tremendous asset to us,” said IFL commissioner Uriel Sturm.

“We have been extremely fortunate to have the support of the Kraft Family as we continue to grow tackle football in Israel and any chance we get to have the Krafts attend a game is really special for us and for our players,” Sturm added.

As the Krafts make their visit to Jerusalem on Thursday night, IFLHigh will put on a game between the Kfar Saba Hawks and Boyer Predators, to be immediately followed by IFL third-place game between the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions and Dancing Camel Tel Aviv Pioneers.

The Kraft delegation – which in the past has included NFL stars such as Tom Brady, Richard Seymour and Benjamin Watson among others – will be arriving at the stadium around 6:30 p.m. and a special half-time ceremony will take place during the interval of the Hawks-Rhinos clash.

In addition to their support of the facility (Kraft Family Stadium) and tackle football the Krafts have also been highly supportive of the women’s flag football national team.

This past year the women’s national team placed fifth in the IFAF Flag World Championships and is currently training for this year’s EFAF European Championships, to be held in September.

“Myra Kraft has been such a tremendous supporter of our quest to make women’s flag football an international contender,” said Shana Sprung quarterback of the women’s national team.

“Just like the men, any chance we get to sit and meet with the Krafts is such a privilege for us and we have established such a bond with Myra she almost feels like our football mom.”

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