Now he has an appreciation for a part of the world many find confusing, complex and incomprehensible.
"A lot of my close friends and family have been over to visit and they had one mindset going in but certainly they were completely the opposite leaving," he said.
"It's a shame that that part of the world is portrayed in the news the way it is. You see it as a war zone instead of the beautiful part of the world it is.
He'll even be wearing number 18 as a homage to his fans in Israel.