JERUSALEM (JA) — Former U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, in Israel to focus attention on the kidnapping of three Israeli teens, called on President Obama to halt dialogue with Hamas, believed to be responsible for the abduction.
Huckabee, the former Republican governor of Arkansas, arrived in Israel on Sunday for a week-long visit; he has visited Israel more than 40 times.
“Hamas is a terrorist organization, so how does the United States approve or work with a government made up by a terrorist organization? We certainly should not fund them, our President should have made sure that they stop receiving taxpayer’s money, and it does not make sense why there is not worldwide condemnation,” he said.
He also called on Obama to make a strong public statement on the issue, during a visit to the home of Naftali Frenkel, the kidnapped teen who is a dual American-Israeli citizen.
“Because Naftali Frenkel is an American citizen we have a constitutional duty to make sure the whole world understands that this takes the situation to a whole new level for the United States,” he said.
Huckabee told Rachel and Avi Frenkel in a private meeting that he would work to keep the kidnapping in the minds of Americans, according to a statement.
“Anything and everything that Israel and the rest of the world can do to get them back they should do and God help those people if they touch a hair on these boys’ heads,” he said.
Huckabee also visited Israeli lawmakers during a Knesset session, and visited the controversial SodaStream factory in Maale Adumim in the West Bank, which employs Israelis and Palestinians and has been the subject of a boycott campaign.Speaking with SodaStream’s Palestinian workers, Huckabee stressed that the factory should be credited as “a model for what is possible.”
Huckabee told reporters in Israel that he has not decided whether he will make a run for the presidency in the 2016 elections.