Sarah Palin is in Israel, perhaps trying to strengthen her foreign policy credentials prior to a possible presidential bid. That is not surprising, but one thing is puzzling -- why was she wearing the Star of David?
Palin was photographed wearing the large Jewish star around her neck as she visited the Western Wall, the holiest site in all of Judaism. Usually only people who are actually Jewish wear the star. Palin is not Jewish.
Palin did not address why she was wearing it. Maybe she was just showing respect. Well, Sen. Joe Lieberman doesn't wear a cross when he visits Christian places.
Perhaps she was trying to curry Jewish votes by pandering with the star. That's a distinct possibility, but according to one writer, that is a waste of time.
Newsweek's Jerusalem bureau chief Dan Ephron wrote on The Daily Beast:
But in the complicated arithmetic of vote-getting, the trip probably won’t help her with most American Jews should she run in 2012. To begin with, Jewish voters tend to be liberal. Nearly 80 percent of them cast their ballot for Democrats in every presidential election since 1992. (The McCain/Palin ticket got 22 percent of the Jewish vote in the 2008 presidential campaign, according to exit polls.) Even in the context of the Israeli political debate, most American Jews are more dovish than the current lineup of GOP favorites. Palin, for example, advocates the unrestricted expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, in contrast to the longstanding American government view that settlements are obstacles to peace. Among American Jews, about 65 percent favor dismantling some or all of the settlements, according to polls.
Ephron said Palin could be trying to appeal to part of her base -- Christian Evangelicals. They are strong supporters of Israel, and take a hard line against a Palestinian state. During his visit to a Jewish settlement last month, Ephron wrote that Mike Huckabee said there is "no chance" that the Palestinians would get a homeland in the West Bank.
Palin didn't go that far, but she did say that Jews should be able to pray openly at the Temple Mount, the Muslim holy site in Jerusalem. "Why are you apologizing all the time?" she asked her Israeli guides, according to the Jerusalem Post.
In addition to Huckabee and Palin, possible GOP candidates Mitt Romney and Haley Barbour also visited Israel recently.