- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Ben Carson is midway through a significant trip to Israel to see the Holy Land for himself - including the spiritual, political and security-minded factors that are realities for the nation. His journey includes a visit to Nazareth, Galilee and Bethlehem - along with tours of the Gaza strip, terrorist tunnels, a military base and Hadassah Medical Center, where Dr. Carson will talk shop with the chief of neurosurgery.

Much has been made of the eight-day visit, which ends Sunday. Political observers insist it’s a vital step for an conservative hopeful considering a White House run. Indeed, Republican Sens. Rand Paul,Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have all been there, and done that - along with Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Dr. Carson - who is accompanied by wife Candy, adviser Terry Giles and business manager Armstrong Williams - has described it as a private fact-finding mission.

But there are certainly some deeply personal motivations.

“Dr. and Ms. Carson are deeply faithful Christians, who I suspect will soon find themselves enveloped by the deep sense of spirituality that is palpable in the air of Israel,” Mr. Williams recently noted in a column for The Washington Times. “They will no doubt be very moved by the experience of touring Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem, a city sacred to Jews and Christians.There they will walk the same streets traversed by Jesus, gaze upon the Mount of Olives and visit the Western Wall, a retaining structure that is all that remains of the Second Temple, built on the very spot where Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac.”

Dr. Carson himself founded a federal political action committee called USA First PAC in September with a pledge “to support restorative political candidates. Among those he supported in the midterms: Senators-elect Joni Ernst of Iowa and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.

And about that presidential possibility. Dr. Carson has also indicated he’ll make his intentions known in about six months.


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