Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera revealed in an interview Tuesday he’s a big supporter of Israel and explained how his Christian faith helped him develop a deep connection to the Jewish state.
Rivera told the Washington Examiner about the bond he's developed with Israel.
“As a Christian, I do believe that the Lord gave us the Bible,” he told the newspaper. “The Bible speaks about Israel. Everything — from New Testament, Old Testament — it’s all about Israel and the relationship his people have. So as a Christian, I understand that the chosen people of God is Israel — Jewish Israel. The country was made by him. All the other countries were made by men. This country was built by him for his people.”
The New York Yankees legend told the Washington Examiner he became enamored with Israel after making two trips to the country with a church group and friends who are rabbis.
“Every time that I go to Israel, it blows my mind,” Rivera said. “I wanted to see more, I wanted to understand more. I wanted to learn more. The Bible comes to life when you’re there.”
Rivera was asked whether he was concerned about his stance and whether he had received criticism over it.
“If I do, I’m OK with that,” Rivera replied. “I know what I stand for: That won’t change. So, to me, criticism is more motivation to keep going forward — to push forward — for what I believe, for what I stand for. And again, that will make me even stronger.”
He added that his support for Israel is faith-based.
“They are the people of God," Rivera said. "They are the chosen people, so I’m not going to be against God.”