BY YOAV ZITUN, YNETNEWS—
The 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee and former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, landed in Ben-Gurion airport on Sunday afternoon for her first ever visit to Israel.
“As the world confronts sweeping changes and new realities, I look forward to meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the key issues facing his country, our ally Israel,” Palin said in a statement.
Meanwhile Ynet has learned that US President Barack Obama may be planning a visit to Israel as well, this summer.
The visit may be scheduled to coincide with the Israeli Presidential Conference, which is set to take place June 20-23, with the participation of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. No official confirmation has been given for the report.
Palin began her trip by visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where she met with the Rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovitch, who escorted her on part of her a tour.
Rabinovitch said Palin obliged his request to not walk along the Western Wall square so as to not disturb the reading of the scrolls at the time.
Rabinovitch mentioned that Palin shared her views on United States-Israel relations, saying she believes there are no disagreements between the two countries. She also voiced her “absolute” support of Israel.
“We’re happy to accommodate Jews and non-Jews visiting the Western Wall. You could feel Palin’s love towards the people of Israel and her great interest in the story of Purim,” said Rabinovitch.
Palin has come here for a shot visit in preparation for a longer official visit planned for later in the year. She is expected to tour the Jerusalem area, have dinner with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and meet politicians from the Likud Party and the right-wing as well as officials in the Christian community.
“Israel is absolutely beautiful and it is overwhelming to see and touch the cornerstone of our faith and I am so grateful to get to be here,” Palin told reporters. “I’m very thankful to know that the Israeli and American link will grow in strength as we seek peace along with you,” Palin said.
Palin was the Republican Party nominee for vice president in the 2008 presidential election. She later associated herself with the conservative Tea Party movement.
The former Alaskan governor is a possible candidate in the 2012 presidential election, and as such a visit to Israel has become an imperative stop on a candidate’s way to the White House. She is also known for her enthusiastic support of Israel, even in difficult times.
AP and Yitzhak Benhorin contributed to this report