Sarah Palin, who ran for Vice President in the 2008 Republican campaign for the White House, will visit Israel this week.
The former Alaska governor has campaigned for several candidates associated with the Tea Party movement, and is a possible candidate in the 2012 presidential election.
According to IDF Radio, the conservative leader's visit is labeled as a private one, but she will be meeting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as well as other nationalist figures, including MK Danny Danon (Likud). The visit will probably be short, lasting less than two full days.
She is expected to visit the Kotel, as well as Nazareth, and will tour Israel by helicopter.
Palin recently expressed
her strong support for Israel in a Fox News
interview, in response to an initiative to cut all US foreign aid. "You know I'm sure that there's some waste and fraud in our foreign aid we need to find efficiencies and not give to any regime that would seek to harm Americans in any sense of the word 'harm,'" Palin said, "I don't support that kind of foreign aid at all. but when it comes to Israel - NO... I stand strong with Israel and unapologetically I say that America should keep this strong democratic ally that we have there in the Middle East and allow for protections around Israel."
Israeli mainstream media is left-liberal and uniformly anti-religious. Palin, as a conservative Republican, is usually portrayed in a less-than-flattering light by Israeli news outlets, which appear to see her as a threat, while US President Barack Obama enjoys favor on mainstream news.
Nonetheless, the press in Israel has been speculating recently on what it sees as a possible up-and-coming Israeli equivalent to the U.S. conservative movement. An 11-minute report on Channel 10
news last month focused on the activity of a pro-family-values movement called The Familists
and labeled two women who have cooperated with it as potential "Israeli Sarah Palins." One is Daphne Netanyahu, editor of online magazine Mara'ah
, who is also the sister-in-law of the Prime Minister. The other is MK Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich
(Kadima), who has recently come out against what she termed "the feminist jihad" in Israel.
The Channel 10 report acknowledged that the 'familist' movement has suffered from mainstream censorship but predicted that it could become the surprise of the next election. A Channel 2 media analyst on news talk show "The World This Morning" said the movement enjoys "unbelievable popularity" and women's magazine At drew a parallel between it and the Tea Party movement.