In the race to the White House, Mike Huckabee, a contender for Republican nominee, said he was pleased to appear at the American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center dinner in December at Manhattan’s Marriott Marquis.

The former Arkansas governor and current Fox News talk show host noted that several previous speakers went on to become prime minister of Israel. “There are times,” he remarked, “when I’m not sure I’d have better luck becoming prime minister of Israel than president of the United States.”

A regular visitor to Israel, Huckabee said that on his most recent trip he went directly to the home of Naftali Frenkel, one of three teenage students murdered near Hebron last year.

“I was struck by how little was said by the U.S. that one of our citizens had been kidnaped by terrorists. Why wasn’t there bold and loud outrage by our government? They were too busy criticizing the building of bedrooms on the land that was given to the Jews by the Bible.”

He added: “There is no equivalency between terrorism and the free state of Israel. One is evil and one is good. One represents barbarism and one represents civilization.”

Bet El is located in the hills of Shomron north of Jerusalem, a stone’s throw away from Ramallah. The American Friends honorary chairman Eugen Gluck,

who with his wife Jean helped established a community center, swimming pool, dining hall and residential building for students, honored several supporters at the 32nd annual dinner.

Among the honorees were Rabbi Allen Schwartz of Congregation Ohab Zedek in Manhattan, Suri and Barry Weiss of Community Home Care Referral Service and Chanita and Akiva Teitz who are in real estate sales.

Huckabee said he visits Israel to show that “those of us from America, not even Jewish, stand with them who understand the difference between putting soldiers in front of children from putting children in front of soldiers.”

Tim Boxer was a columnist at the New York Post for two decades. At the same time he has been a columnist for The New York Jewish Week for 35 years, and editor of 15MinutesMagazine.com for 16 years. He is the author of Jewish Celebrity Hall of Fame, interviews of Hollywood stars about their Jewish roots.