Israel honors Patriots owner Kraft amid solicitation case

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is honoring New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft with the 2019 Genesis Prize for his philanthropy and commitment to combatting anti-Semitism.

Thursday's gala ceremony in Jerusalem and his high-profile feting offers Kraft a welcome reprieve just four months after he was charged with soliciting a prostitute at a Florida massage parlor.

The 78-year-old billionaire businessman has vigorously battled the charges, and the case against him appears to be crumbling. He has pleaded innocent but also issued a written apology, expressing sorrow for hurting his family, friends and fans.

It's unlikely to tarnish the celebration of his winning the "Jewish Nobel." Kraft had lunch with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and will deliver the keynote speech at a lavish ceremony.

Kraft is the sixth winner of the prestigious $1 million prize.

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