Romney to visit Israel for Jewish vote hunting

Romney to visit Israel for Jewish vote hunting

Romney to visit Israel for Jewish vote hunting

Republican presidential candidate Romney and his wife Ann Romney are seen on a Jet Ski on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro. Romney will visit Israel this summer. AP photo

White House hopeful Mitt Romney will travel to Israel this summer, his campaign said July 2, an apparent appeal to Jewish voters and donors who overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama in 2008.

The Republican challenging President Obama in November’s election will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a Romney aide confirmed. The New York Times reported that Romney would also meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Israeli President Shimon Peres, among other leaders, and hold at least one public event on a trip lasting one to two days.

‘Obama threw Israel under bus’

Romney said last month he would be the “opposite” of Obama in terms of U.S. policy on Israel, and had vowed in March that his first foreign trip as president “will not be to Cairo, or Riyadh or Ankara, it will be to Jerusalem.” Obama visited all three Muslim capitals early in his presidency, but has yet to visit Jerusalem since taking office in January 2009.

Early this year, Romney said Obama “threw Israel under the bus” with regards to stalemated negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Romney and other Republican leaders have also been highly critical of Obama’s “policy of procrastination” toward Iran, saying it is too weighted toward engagement with an Israeli enemy with nuclear ambitions.

American Jewish voters supported Obama by about three to one against Republican nominee John McCain in 2008. But a June poll by Gallup of Jewish registered voters showed such support slipping to 64 percent, although that is still more than double the 29 percent who said they would vote for Romney.