NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber will be an honorary grand marshal of the Celebrate Israel Parade in Manhattan on Sunday.

Barber says in a statement Tuesday that Israel "holds a very special place" in his heart.

In 2005, Barber went to Israel as the guest of then Vice Premier Shimon Peres, whom he'd met at a New York restaurant. The NFL veteran joined efforts of the Peres Peace Center to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

The player-turned-analyst made his second visit in March. Barber was a guest of the Israel Tourism Ministry and ran in the Jerusalem Marathon.