Israel Primary: Potential 2012 Candidates Flock To The Holy Land


For Huckabee, who has traveled to Israel more than a dozen times, and other Republican officials, their time in the country also represents a chance to connect with evangelical Christians in the U.S.

"It seems that many evangelicals are more supportive of Israel than some of the Jews I know in America," Huckabee told the Christian Broadcasting Network in a video message he taped this week. "So much of my own spiritual history and that of other evangelicals is rooted here -- every place our feet touches, it's a very special place."

He added, "As I love to tell many of my Jewish friends, Judaism can exist without Christianity, but Christianity cannot exist without Judaism."

While in Israel this week, Huckabee visited to several important holy sites, delivering lectures on their biblical significance to a tour group traveling with him. Huckabee advertised the trip on his website as a chance to "experience Israel in a way you never imagined possible."

The cost: $4,479, which includes round-trip airfare, five-star accommodations, meals, admission to sites, ground transportation and other incidentals, according to Huckabee's site.

Brooks said Barbour's trip will be tailored to the governor's particular interests. His itinerary includes stops at the Noble Energy offshore gas rig and the Better Place electric car facility outside Tel Aviv.

"Most come away from these trips, not only falling in love with the country," Brooks said on Thursday, "but certainly also having a much deeper understanding of the complexities that affect the region."

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