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March 14, 2019 2:26 pm

Ex-NBA Star Amare Stoudemire Calls Being Granted Israeli Citizenship a ‘Dream Come True’

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

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Amare Stoudemire holding his Israeli citizenship document and new Israeli ID card with Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri on March 13, 2019. Photo: Dov Halickman.

Former NBA All-Star Amare Stoudemire was granted Israeli citizenship in a ceremony at the Interior Ministry in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

“I’m filled with emotions right now. This is a dream come true for me,” Stoudemire, who has been playing for the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team since 2016, wrote on Instagram following the event. The 36-year-old thanked God for the opportunity, as well as Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, saying, “the way you understood the sincerity of my intentions is admirable. May Ha’shem/ G-d bless you and your family.”

Deri said at the ceremony that Stoudemire was granted citizenship due to his “unique contributions” to Israeli society, adding, “Amare will be Israel’s ambassador to the world.”

Stoudemire was granted residency rights in January.

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In his social media post, Stoudemire also thanked Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, writing, “i understand how much effort you put in to advance sport and sport culture in Israel and i appreciate your efforts in allowing me to be a part of the Israeli sporting nation. I will do my best to help your mission on and off the court.”

He additionally expressed gratitude to Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, and concluded by saying, “last but not least, i want to thank the the city of Jerusalem, the Hapoel Jerusalem fans and team for letting me in to your family. Mey Has’hem bless us all. Yalla Hapoel! #StoudemireFamily.”

Stoudemire added on Thursday on his Instagram story, “Time to continue my studies and raise a Torah/Bible observant family.” The ex- New York Knick, who is the son of  “Hebraic” parentssaid last August that studying the Torah was part of his daily routine.

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