Governor Sarah Palin and Todd, arrive at Ben Gurion airport earlier today – March 20 2011 – AP
Sarah Palin's trip to Israel, like her trip to India, is being seen as a huge success. Not only are Sarah and Todd touring some of the nation's holiest sites, they have also met with World Likud chairman Danny Danon. On Monday the Palins will be hosted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in celebration of Purim, a Jewish festival that celebrates the story of Esther. Though other U.S. politicians have made the trip to Israel recently, we know of no one who has be invited to break bread with Netanyahu and his wife Sara during their visit. That makes this celebration special indeed.
Here's a round up from some of the reporting on the trip. The first is from Sheya as he talks about the festival of Purim:
Dancing In The Street As Governor Palin Arrives In Israel
Upon Governor Palin’s arrival Israelis will be celebrating the festivities of Purim.
Purim is the day Jews celebrate the story of Esther. It’s a very festive day. Kids dress up and food gifts are distributed to family and friends. People are very joyous and its common to see lots of singing and dancing in the streets. It’s customary to drink lots of wine on Purim. It is also a day of giving a lot of money to charity.
Everywhere in the world, including most of Israel, Purim began at sundown on Saturday night and ends after sundown on Sunday night.
In Jerusalem however, Purim takes place one day later and begins at sundown Sunday and ends after sundown Monday.
Governor Palin will join Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for dinner in Jerusalem on Monday evening; The Purim dinner!
Read more here.
Sheya also has video of Sarah and Todd at the Wailing Wall [and the English translation of the reporting] that you can watch here.
Sarah and Todd visited the Western Wall and its adjacent tunnels. Danny Danon and Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz were the Palins' guides. She was outspoken in her support for Israel. From the Jerusalem Post:
Palin at Kotel tunnel: Israel too apologetic
Palin says she looks forward to meeting with Netanyahu to discuss key issues "as the world confronts sweeping changes and new realities."
Former American vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin expressed support for Jews praying openly on the Temple Mount on a visit to the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday, officials who accompanied Palin said.
Palin and her husband Todd arrived for a two-day visit on Sunday afternoon and toured the Western Wall and its adjacent tunnels. They will visit the Old City again on Monday, tour Gesthsemane and the Mount of Olives, and have dinner with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara at their official residence in Jerusalem.
World Likud chairman Danny Danon and Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz served as Palin's tour guides on Sunday night. Palin was told that Jews were not allowed to pray openly on the Temple Mount and about the Arab riots that accompanied Netanyahu's decision to authorize the creation of an exit from the Western Wall tunnels in 1996.
"Why are you apologizing all the time?" Palin asked her guides.
Palin expressed regret that she would not be able to visit Nazareth or Bethlehem on her brief stay in Israel. She promised that she would soon come back for longer.
"It's overwhelming to be able to see and touch the cornerstone of our faith," Palin told reporters upon exiting the tunnels. "I'm so thankful to be able to be here, and I'm thankful to know the Israel American link connection will grow and strengthen as the peace negotiations will continue."
Rabinowitz said that Palin prayed at the point closest to the Holy of Holies and left a note with a personal prayer. Unlike when then-presidential candidate Barack Obama visited the Western Wall in July 2008, no one removed her note from the wall and gave it to the press.
"She said that she absolutely supports Israel and that America is the biggest friend that Israel has," Rabinowitz said.
When Rabinowitz shared the story of Purim with Palin, she told him it was especially meaningful to be at the Kotel on Purim.
Danon said that Palin's visit to the Western Wall Tunnels was very exciting. He called upon Obama to make his first visit to Israel as president as soon as possible.
"She really connected to the story of the Jewish nation," Danon said. "She knows the material but there's nothing like standing in front of those big stones and hearing about the connection. I know that she loves Israel, and after a visit like this, she has a personal connection to the Western Wall."
Palin, who was wearing a large Star of David, told Danon that she had flags of Israel "on my desk, in my home, all over the place" and that she would carry around a flag she bought in Israel.
"She didn't go into diplomatic issues, but I can clearly say from the questions she asked in relation to our conflict here with the Muslims in these holy sites that she knows that we are right and that the Muslims are just claiming things for provocation and they're not right," Danon said.
Danon posted this photo of himself, Sarah, and Todd on his Facebook page:
Governor Sarah Palin arrives at the Western Wall tunnels in Jerusalen’s Old City this afternoon wearing a Star of David necklace – March 20 2011 -Reuters
Leading Republican Sarah Palin toured Jerusalem's Western Wall on Sunday as she began a two-day, private visit to Israel.
She also planned on meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during her first trip to the Jewish state to discuss key issues facing the U.S. ally.
Palin, a 2008 vice presidential candidate, is a potential White House contender in 2012 and a leading light in the fiscally conservative Tea Party movement.
Together with the rabbi who oversees the Jewish holy site in Jerusalem's old city, Palin toured the tunnels beneath the Western Wall, which are remains of a Roman-era Temple.
"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, who flew in from India, said in a statement on her website.
Israeli media described her trip as a bid to show support for Israel, whose standing is strong among U.S. voters, and gain more experience in international affairs ahead of a possible presidential run.
One of the things we really found interesting was the private meeting between Danny Danon and Sarah. Danon has been very outspoken against the Obama regime and how Obama's policies and lack of leadership have caused Israel to lose all faith in the United States as an ally.
This from a recent World Net Daily article:
Israel: White House Not Reliable
Israel can no longer rely on the White House and must trust only itself due to a lack of leadership on the part of President Obama, declared a Knesset member from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud party.
"We have to understand that if, God forbid, we will be in the case of trouble, we can trust only ourselves because we see a lack of leadership coming from the U.S. today," said Likud Knesset Member Danny Danon.
"And we should be worried about it, because we always think, well, we have a friend in the White House, we can call them when we are in need, and we see that is not the case," said Danon, the deputy speaker of Israel's parliament.
Read the entire article here.
This was a very strategic visit for Sarah Palin. Israel is our ally, and the only stable democracy in the Middle East. By the reception she received, and the caliber of those receiving her, you see a President Palin would be welcomed by Israel. We got the same vibe from her trip to India as well. Sarah Palin has shown that she has a strong understanding of both national and international issues, and more importantly, is ready to take a strong leadership role on the world stage, as President. That would be a much welcomed change from the current situation we are forced to deal with.