Monday, March 21, 2011

AP: Palin stays mostly out of sight for Israel visit

Hebrew University's David Ricci: "She is keeping her options open"
Aron Heller, Associated Press correspondent in Jerusalem, reports that Gov. Palin's two-day visit to Israel has been anything but a series of photo ops. To the contrary...
Sarah Palin stayed out of sight Monday during her first trip to Israel, dodging paparazzi staking out hotels and holy sites in hopes of getting a glimpse of the former Alaska governor who might run for president.

A visit to Israel, a key U.S. ally, has become almost a rite of passage for potential Republican candidates at a time of strained relations between the U.S. and Israeli governments. Israel is a key American ally in a volatile region and a top concern for Jewish voters and pro-Israel Christian groups in the U.S.


For the most part, however, Palin evaded the waiting press hordes, changing her schedule at the last minute, leaving sites before reporters could catch up with her. While most politicians seek out coverage, Palin is derisive of the media and avoids contact when possible.

Benyamin Korn, director of Jewish Americans for Palin, a grass roots organization advocating for Palin in the Jewish community, said she would not be making any further public statements during her stay. He said she is planning a more substantial visit in the coming months.

Danny Danon, a lawmaker in Netanyahu's Likud Party, accompanied Palin in the Old City and said he found a very down to earth woman with a deep love for Israel. He said she told him she keeps flags of Israel in her office and home.

Netanyahu has had a rocky relationship with Obama over Israel's settlement building in the West Bank and the lack of progress in peacemaking. Danon said the Republican candidates' embrace of Israel offers an alternative to Obama's combative approach.

- JP

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