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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Romney arrives in Israel to pledge support for the Holy Land and meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu


Presidential candidate is putting his gaffe-filled visit to London behind him as he arrives for the main event of his international trip: Israel.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: SATURDAY, JULY 28, 2012

BY JONATHAN LEMIRE AND MATTHEW KALMAN IN JERUSALEM / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS


 Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and wife Ann arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, July 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

CHARLES DHARAPAK/AP

Romney and wife Ann arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel on Saturday.

Mitt Romney will pledge his support for Israel - and make his pitch for Jewish voters back home in America - during a closely-watched visit to the Holy Land Sunday.

Romney, likely grateful to put his gaffe-filled stop in London behind him, arrived in Tel Aviv late Saturday a day before he is set to meet with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A day full of meetings will also include a sitdown with Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, as Romney attempts to bolster his thin foreign policy credentials.

His situation is reminiscent of another presidential candidate who made a similar trip to Israel four years ago: Barack Obama.

Obama, then an Illinois Senator with little international experience, was lauded for voicing unwavering support for Israel as it was pummeled by Palestinian rocket attacks.

But Obama, who has not visited Israel since, has experienced somewhat frosty relations with Netanyahu - and Romney is trying to take advantage of a possible opening with Jewish voters, particularly those in the swing state of Florida.

In a move likely timed to Romney’s trip, Obama pledged more military aid to Israel during a bill signing Friday.

And while it would be difficult for Romney to suffer as many flubs in Israel as he did in the United Kingdom, his scheduling team did make one embarrassing error.

A $50,000 a plate fundraiser with Americans living in Israel was originally scheduled for Sunday, which is Ninth of Av, the solemn day of mourning and fasting that marks the destruction of both Temples in ancient Jerusalem.

After Romney’s advisors realized the conflict, the fundraiser was switched to a breakfast Monday morning.

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