Huckabee Supports Jewish Growth

Past and likely-future US Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, on his second day on a private trip to Israel, says, “No need for a PA state.”

Hillel Fendel ,

Huckabee and Ben-Artzi in Beit El
Huckabee and Ben-Artzi in Beit El
Israel news photo

Past and likely-future U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee spent his second day on a private trip to Israel visiting Maaleh Adumim, Beit El and other Shomron (Samaria) towns. He began the day by visiting with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Expressing strong support for Israelis’ right to live where they want without having to receive American permission, Huckabee expressed incredulity that either the Arabs or the Americans would expect the tens of thousands of Jews of Maaleh Adumim to leave. “Where would they go?” he asked.

Maaleh Adumim is a city just to the east of Jerusalem with nearly 40,000 residents. Huckabee visited the city this morning, and met briefly with Mayor Benny Kashriel. The two, accompanied by a delegation of supporters of the U.S.-based Jerusalem Reclamation Foundation and a group of reporters, stood atop a Maaleh Adumim mountain top and looked out at the barren Judean Mountains below – the site of the controversial and not-yet started E-1 housing project.

“As you can see,” the mayor told the former governor, “the land is desolate, and we are not pushing out any Arabs from their homes. This is state-owned land, designated for the expansion of Maaleh Adumim by [the late Prime Minister] Yitzchak Rabin. Yet, no construction is going on – because the Americans don’t agree.”

“We need your help in convincing the U.S. government to stop pressuring us on this matter,” Kashriel said to Huckabee. “We would like our children to be able to live next to us.”

Huckabee Doesn't Understand PA, US
“The Palestinians are asking you to leave this place?” Huckabee asked.  “No, they are demanding it,” Kashriel said, adding that the Americans "merely" want to stop further growth. 

Huckabee had trouble understanding both positions: “If they want you to leave, where exactly do they expect you to go?! And if the Americans realize that you are not leaving, then why should your growth and job-creation and the like be stopped? You should remain and simply stop growing?!”

He stopped short of expressing all-out support for the E-1 project – some 3,000 housing units – but expressed support in general for Israel’s right to build and grow in the disputed areas.

Huckabee later said he sees no reason why the Arab world needed yet another state.

Obama is Too Harsh on Israel
Asked his opinion of President Barack Obama’s policy vis-à-vis Israel, Huckabee said, “We are all – both Republicans and Democrats – surprised at the new policies he has instituted, much harsher than previous administrations, and very different than his own campaign promises when he visited Israel. We simply do not know where he will end up.”

Huckabee finished second to John McCain in the race for the Republican Party’s nomination for presidential candidate in 2008. He is currently considered an early front-runner for the nomination for the 2012 elections.

From Maaleh Adumim, Huckabee traveled to Beit El, in the southern Shomron. None other than Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s brother-in-law, long-time Beit El resident Dr. Hagi Ben-Artzi, explained to the prominent visitor the historic significance of Beit El and the importance and vitality of the 6,000-strong Jewish community there.

Huckabee in Beit El

“There are hundreds of places around the world named Beth El,” Ben-Artzi told the visitors, “but you are now in the original Beit El, the inspiration for all the others.” From Mt. Artis, which commands a breathtaking view of Beit El - as well as of the widespread illegal Arab construction in the area - Ben-Artzi explained the hardships of the construction near-freeze in Judea and Samaria.

The American politician visited Jewish settlement sites in eastern Jerusalem on Monday, including the Jewish-owned Shepherd Hotel, adjacent to the Jewish-owned area of Shimon HaTzaddik, not far from French Hill and Ramat Eshkol. He was greeted there by several dozen protesting Arabs, carrying signs referring to the Jews who wish to build Jewish housing in the areas as “racists.”  Huckabee said he was happy to see the protestors, as it means that “Israel grants its citizens freedoms that most people in the world do not enjoy. In Iran, when people tried just to raise their voices over the vote, they were shot by their own government – while here, these protestors are protected by their own government.  But freedom also means the freedom to live where one wants.”

Huckabee, Daniel Lurie (Ateret Cohanim) and Helen Freedman (AFSI)

“No American would tolerate the government telling some citizens that they can’t live in certain areas because they’re the wrong color or the wrong religion,” Huckabee told Israel National Radio’s Yishai Fleisher at the scene.

“I can only imagine what an American would say,” Huckabee emphasized on his blog after the protest, “if someone suggested that Baptists wouldn't be allowed to live in some neighborhoods, while Catholics would be banned in others.”




top