Sarah Palin Woos Evangelical Vote with Pro-Israel Stance, Says Zionist Group

A national Zionist organization contended that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's unapologetic support for Israel on Sunday will win her votes.

Morton Klein, the national president of Zionist Organization of America, said Palin's expression of support for the Jewish state while visiting a holy site will definitely help her politically.

"This will only increase her votes," Klein told The Christian Post.

Palin, a possible GOP contender for the 2012 presidential election, stated Sunday that Israel should stop apologizing so often for its actions.

Palin made the comment while touring the highly revered Western Wall and adjacent tunnels which are currently being excavated. The excavation has upset Palestinians who believe their homes are being demolished to expand Israel's territory.

Deputy Knesset Speaker Danny Danon accompanied Palin and her husband Todd on the tour. Danon reported of their conversation, "I was able to explain to her about the issues we have with the Palestinians regarding the control of the Temple Mount."

He continued, "At one point she asked why we are being so apologetic about all those issues because I told her after we opened the tunnels there were a lot of riots."

Prior to her trip, a Washington Post-ABC news poll showed that Palin's favorability was falling among Republicans.

The March 16 poll shows that 84 percent of GOP respondents had reported having a favorable view of Palin during her 2008 debut as Sen. John McCain's vice presidential candidate. By comparison, only 58 percent of GOP respondents said they have a favorable view of her in 2011.

A Barna poll also released this month put Palin second behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee among possible Republican presidential candidates.

As a result, Palin's trip to the Jewish state is speculated to be an effort to energize her base.

Her comments about Israel's effort to restore the tunnels along the wall are in line with the views of Christian Zionists, who defend Israel's occupation of the West Bank on biblical grounds.

Christian Zionists favor Israel because they say God has named Jews as His chosen people. These conservatives and others have also criticized President Barack Obama for not supporting Israel enough despite Israel being the U.S.'s strongest ally in the Middle East. Klein states that evangelicals and Jews are increasingly unhappy because Obama is urging the Jewish state to make concession after concession while Palestinians do little.

However, Porter Speakman Jr., a Christian Pastor, reminds people that not all Christians blindly favor Israel in the Israel-Palestinian land debate. Speakman, the director of the documentary "With God on Our Side," asked hardline Zionists to re-evaluate their stance.

"Any approach to the Middle East must be one that sees the needs of all people, not just one, because at the heart of who God is, is a God of love who commands us to love one another, whether that be our neighbor or someone we consider our enemy," he wrote in a statement.

However, ZOA's Klein insisted, "Evangelicals are more supportive of Israel because they believe in the Bible."

Sarah Palin, he said, is definitely a pro-Israel evangelical. Klein, who said he knows Palin personally, said she had a picture of an Israeli flag in her office while governor of Alaska.

"She is an ardent supporter of Israel," he stated. "She also understands that Israel has given all of Gaza and half of the West Bank and gotten nothing in return."

He praised Palin's comment and said other GOP candidates must make similar expressions of support if they expect to win evangelical votes.

Several other potential candidates have visited Israel. Huckabee visited the Holy Land in February. Romney and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour have also made stops in Israel.

Like Huckabee, Romney and Barbour, former Alaska Gov. Palin has expressed interest in the GOP presidential nomination but has yet to declare herself an official candidate.

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