Palin to make first visit to Israel this weekend

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) will make a two-day visit to Israel this weekend, according to multiple media reports Thursday. 

During her visit, the potential 2012 presidential candidate will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and tour holy sites such as the Western Wall and the city of Nazareth. Palin is expected to arrive in the Jewish state late Sunday with her husband Todd and stay until Tuesday, Agence France-Presse reported.  

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The trip, her first to Israel, will give the 2008 vice presidential nominee a chance to burnish her foreign policy credentials and demonstrate her support for Israel, the United States's top ally in the region.

Other potential GOP presidential candidates have already visited Israel in the new year; it has traditionally been a stopping point for U.S. political bigwigs from both parties due to the robust alliance between the two nations.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) visited Israel in January and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) made his 15th trip there last month. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) traveled there as well. 

President Obama's potential campaign opponents have tried to outflank him on Israel, arguing he has not been a strong enough supporter of the Jewish state. 

Palin's first foreign trip of the new year will come on Saturday, when she speaks at a conference in India.

Palin has been known as a strong supporter of Israel ever since she entered the national political arena. The Jerusalem Post noted she criticized Obama's handling of a recent Palestinian terror attack in the West Bank in a Facebook note on Tuesday.

"As Israel makes concessions (and is still criticized by the Obama Administration), Arab leaders are just sitting back waiting for the White House to further pressure Israel," she wrote. "The Obama Administration needs to open its eyes and recognize that it is only Iran and her terrorist allies that benefit from this manufactured Israeli controversy.

Media reports in December indicated Palin had opened discussions about a foreign trip in 2011, with Israel and Great Britain at the top of the list of potential destinations. Details of the overseas venture, including the dates and locations, however, were never finalized. 

Palin turned down an invitation in February to speak at the Herzliya Conference, a highly-regarded national-security and policy gathering outside Tel Aviv.