By Aryeh Savir
Tazpit News Agency
JERUSALEM – Former Arkansas Governor and Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee is currently on a week long visit in Israel on what has been defined as a fact-finding tour, focused on the challenges facing Israelis in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, as well as the threat of anti-Israel de-legitimization efforts such as the BDS movement.
Huckbbe, immediately after landing in Israel, went directly to the home of Avi and Rachel Frenkel, parents of Naftali, one of the abducted teens, an American citizen. “I went to offer support, to give them strength,” Huckabee told reporters Tuesday (Jun. 24) morning, “and I went away with them giving me strength. They are a remarkable family, a family of faith, and their faith gives them a real sense of optimism.”
Huckabee was asked how he would act in regards to the current abductees’ crisis in Israel if he were president. “Naftali Frenkel is an American citizen. Because he is a citizen we have not only an emotional response but a constitutional duty to ensure that the whole world understands that this takes it to a new level for the US. You kidnap an American citizen; now all bets are off. You hurt that kid and you don’t want to know what the results would be. One of the sides is a kidnapped child. The other is a kidnapper. The two sides here are good and evil. Evil kidnaps children. Good does all it can to get those children back and to punish anyone who would be a part of that.” Huckabee said he would offer all the resources and intelligence at his deposal and other forms of assistance as requested. He believes a clear message should have been conveyed in support of an abducted American citizen, a message the Obama administration failed to communicate.
He condemned the Palestinian Authority-Hamas unity government recently established, stating he was appalled by the union. “How can the US approve of, and work with a government that’s made up in part of a terrorist organization? We say we don’t negotiate with terrorists, we certainly shouldn’t fund them.” Huckabee believes the US should have cut off all funding to the PA after the unification. “It is beyond me to understand why there would not be worldwide condemnation. I think we see the worthlessness of the UN through all this that it’s remained incredibly silent.” He praised PM Netanyahu for his actions regarding the PA-Hamas unity government.
Huckabbe had very warm words for Israel, praising Israel’s advancement, development and technology, as well as its democracy and society which enable equality of rights for everyone.
His visit includes a stop at the Sodastream factory which has been the recent target of BDS activity. “It should be obvious to anyone that the company provides extraordinary opportunity not only for work but for social gatherings. It should be given national and international awards instead of being targeted by BDS, which is inexplicable to me.” He described BDS as an “irrational, anti-Semitic effort on the part of some organizations and nations.”
Regarding the Presbyterian Church’s decision to boycott companies providing services in Judea and Samaria, Huckabee shared that he was embarrassed by the decision, calling it absurd. “Who can possibly be behind such an absurd decision that has no basis in good policy, good economics, or good sense?” Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, believes that this decision, together with other factors, is bringing to the decline of the Presbyterian Church.
One of the goals of his visit is to raise awareness regarding the three abducted boys in the US. During his visit on Monday with the two Chief Rabbis Huckabee stated: “It’s one thing if people hear that three Israeli soldiers have been kidnapped or captured. That gets our attention, but this hits our hearts very differently. When a person who is American hears this story, they don’t react as an American; they don’t react as a Zionist. I’m both, I react as a father.” Both chief rabbis thanked Huckabee for his efforts to bring knowledge of the present crisis to the American public.
Regarding his political future, Huckabee said he has not yet decided whether to enter the US presidential race of 2016. He stated financial issues were a determining factor.
Dr. Joseph Frager, one of the organizers of the Huckabee visit, told Tazpit News Agency: “Governor Huckabbe is the best friend Israel has had. I think that if he chooses to be one of the candidates for presidency I think he will do great. I think he has what it takes, the right stuff. I believe that if he chooses this path he will be successful. He has tremendous respect for the Jewish People; he has tremendous respect for Israel.”