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Israeli President Invites Amar’e Stoudemire To Join National Team

Knicks Star In Jerusalem For Maccabiah Games
Israeli President Shimon Peres hosts  Amar'e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks at the presidential residency in Jerusalem on July 18, 2013.  (Photo by GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli President Shimon Peres hosts Amar’e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks at the presidential residency in Jerusalem on July 18, 2013. (Photo by GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)

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JERUSALEM (CBSNewYork/AP) — The president of Israel has invited New York Knicks star Amare Stoudemire to play for the country’s national basketball team because of his ties to Judaism.

Shimon Peres met with Stoudemire on Thursday to discuss the player’s charity efforts.

Stoudemire, who says he has “Hebrew roots,” has traveled to Israel before and Peres urged him to help the national team.

The six-time NBA All-Star already has significant ties to Israeli basketball. Last month, he joined a group looking to buy Hapoel Jerusalem, a team in Israel’s top league. Stoudemire is in Israel to coach the Canadian basketball team at the Maccabiah Games, a competition for Jewish athletes.

Stoudemire won a bronze medal with the United States at the 2004 Olympics but has not played for the national team since 2007.

Stoudemire, who has been posting about his trip on Twitter, wrote that he had a “beautiful time” with Peres.

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