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      California's GOP Senate Candidate Brings Race to Israel

      GOP challenger Carly Fiorina is headed for Israel in a move she hopes will give her the edge over incumbent Democratic and Jewish Senator Boxer.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 8/29/2010, 5:07 PM / Last Update: 8/29/2010, 5:53 PM

      California Republican candidate Carly Fiorina is headed for Israel in a move she hopes will give her an edge over incumbent Democratic and Jewish Senator Barbara Boxer. Both candidates bill themselves as “pro-Israel.”

      Sen. Boxer previously has been supported by pro-Israel groups, but Jewish voters’ growing dislike of U.S. President Barack Obama may taint her record. 

      Fiorina, a former chief executive officer of Hewlett Packard, already has scored points on the issues of the Ground Zero mosque and the building freeze against new Jewish home construction in Judea and Samaria. She has come out against building the planned multi-story mosque near the site where Al-Qaeda suicide terrorists destroyed the Twin Towers on 9/11. "Now would be a time for the proponents of that mosque to withdraw and say they will find someplace else, where their objectives can be met, instead of continuing to inflame the passions of the people who lost and suffered so much," Fiorina has said.

      Sen. Boxer (pictured) declined to get involved, saying, "That is a zoning decision, and that decision has to be made by the city of New York.”

      She is closely identified with President Obama, and Fiorina has tried to make her look like a leftist, while Sen. Boxer has attempted to portray Fiorina as an irresponsible right-wing businesswoman who put thousands of HP employees out of work through layoffs.

      The Republican Jewish Coalition is sponsoring the four-day visit to Israel, which is to begin a day after the scheduled opening of “direct talks” between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. U.S. President Barack Obama is hosting the two leaders and will talk with each of them separately before a face-to-face discussion between them on Thursday.

      Marty Wilson, campaign manager for Fiorina, said that the timing of Fiorina’s visit is coincidental, explaining that "for Carly to be informed and updated on what's happening over there is a good thing."

      She said she hopes to meet with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu to "convey directly to the people of Israel that they will not have a stronger friend in the U.S. Senate than me."

      In an interview earlier this month with Globes, Fiorina backs harsher sanction on Iran and added that “it is not just Israel's job to take care of it.” She also backs Prime Minister Netanyahu’s position on direct talks with the PA. “The freeze on the settlements was unprecedented on the part of Israel and there has been no response,” she said in the interview. “There doesn't seem to be someone on the other side willing to talk.” 

      A recent Rasmussen poll shows that both candidates are running neck-and-neck, and Fiorina's tour of Israel could give her an edge.