WASHINGTON (JTA) — Mike Huckabee, a likely 2012 Republican presidential candidate, will visit a controversial eastern Jerusalem site.
Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who lost his GOP bid for the 2008 presidency, will attend a dinner at the Shepherd Hotel on Sunday during a trip to Israel, according to media reports. The Obama administration has objected to plans to build 20 apartments at the site, but Israel has asserted that Jews have the right to build in eastern Jerusalem.
Irving Moskowitz, an American philanthropist and activist, purchased the land on which the Shepherd Hotel sits in 1985. The land is located near an Israeli compound housing several government ministries.
The dinner, which also is to include some Jewish and Republican activists from the United States, is part of an Israel trip that will include Huckabee visits to the Jewish portion of Hebron and to Ma’aleh Adumim, the largest settlement in the West Bank. Ateret Cohanim, a religious Zionist yeshiva that also helps and encourages Jews to live in eastern Jerusalem, is sponsoring the trip. Moskowitz is a supporter of Ateret Cohanim.
Among those accompanying Huckabee will be New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat who told the Jerusalem Post that the trip is "an opportunity to shine the spotlight on Obama’s policy in Jerusalem, which has just been a horror."