Leading Republican Sarah Palin began a private visit to Israel on Sunday, her first to the Jewish state, and planned to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and tour holy sites.
Palin, a 2008 vice presidential candidate, is a potential White House contender in 2012 and a leading light in the fiscally conservative Tea Party movement.
"As the world confronts sweeping changes and new realities, I look forward to meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the key issues facing his country, our ally Israel," Palin, who flew in from India, said in a statement on her website.
Israeli media described her trip as a bid to show support for Israel, whose standing is strong among U.S. voters, and gain more experience in international affairs ahead of a possible presidential run.
Palin, who is keeping her supporters guessing on whether she will run for the presidency, made no comment to reporters on arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion airport for the two-day visit.
Palin was scheduled to have dinner with Netanyahu and his wife on Monday after visiting holy sites in Jerusalem, including Judaism's Western Wall. (Full story here)