Middle East

Only 5 of 11 NFL players show up for Israel-sponsored trip

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2017, file photo, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72) walks off the field after an NFL football divisional football game against the Atlanta Falcons, in Atlanta.  In an embarrassment to the Israeli government, only five of 11 NFL players have arrived on a sponsored trip aimed at improving the country's image. The ministry for strategic affairs and public diplomacy issued a press release after the Super Bowl boasting that the visit would bring "influencers" who would serve as "goodwill ambassadors" when they returned home. The announcement led Seahawks Michael Bennett to pull out. He accused the government of trying to use him for PR purposes and cited sympathy for the Palestinians. Several others players followed suit. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2017, file photo, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72) walks off the field after an NFL football divisional football game against the Atlanta Falcons, in Atlanta. In an embarrassment to the Israeli government, only five of 11 NFL players have arrived on a sponsored trip aimed at improving the country's image. The ministry for strategic affairs and public diplomacy issued a press release after the Super Bowl boasting that the visit would bring "influencers" who would serve as "goodwill ambassadors" when they returned home. The announcement led Seahawks Michael Bennett to pull out. He accused the government of trying to use him for PR purposes and cited sympathy for the Palestinians. Several others players followed suit. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)  (The Associated Press)

In an embarrassment to the Israeli government, only five of 11 NFL players have arrived on a sponsored trip aimed at improving the country's image.

The ministry for strategic affairs and public diplomacy issued an press release after the Super Bowl boasting that the visit would bring "influencers" who would serve as "goodwill ambassadors" when they returned home.

The announcement led Seattle Seahawks defense lineman Michael Bennett to pull out. He accused the government of trying to use him for PR purposes and cited sympathy for the Palestinians. Several others players followed suit.

Rambam hospital spokesman David Ratner says Wednesday that only five players arrived for a planned visit to the hospital. The ministry declined to comment.