WASHINGTON – Republican US presidential candidate Mitt Romney
is planning a trip to Israel
this summer, the New York Times reported on Monday.
An aide to Romney confirmed that a trip is being planned. No details were immediately available about exactly when and where the candidate will visit.
“He’s a strong friend of Israel and we’ll be happy to meet with him,” Ron Dermer, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s
senior adviser, told the newspaper. Dermer worked with Republicans in the United States before immigrating to Israel.
“We value strong bipartisan support for Israel and we’re sure it will only deepen that,” he added.
A trip to Israel would be designed in part to help Romney build support among Jewish
voters, evangelical voters and conservatives.
During the Republican presidential primary, Romney accused President Barack Obama
of throwing Israel, in his words, "under the bus." Romney also has said his policy toward the Jewish state would be the opposite of Obama's.
This will be Romney’s fourth visit to Israel. His first visit was on a Mormon Church
trip, and his second visit was in 2007, when he served as a keynote speaker at the Herzliya Conference. In January 2011, Romney spent three days in Israel during a tour of the region.