JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel is vital to America, its people bound together by a "cord of common interests," former Arkansas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
Since his arrival on Saturday, Huckabee has divided his time between meetings with Israeli government and military leaders and touring with the 160 Americans who came with him.
"I want to make sure people understand that this little nation of seven-and-a-half million people, the size of New Jersey, is in fact vital to them in the United States," Huckabee told CBN News.
"They don't need to see this [country] as those people 'over there.' They need to see Israel as our partner, our friend, our family, separated by an ocean, but bound together by a cord of common interests," he said.
Huckabee, who made his first trip to the Jewish state in 1973, has visited 14 times since then.
"I want to come as often as I can, in part because I don't think there are enough voices speaking to the people of America."
On Monday, Huckabee met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The two talked about why the proliferation of Iran's nuclear capability "is simply unacceptable."
"There are many people in the United States who naively think that Israel is Iran's primary target. That's foolish," he said.
"Any attack on Israel is simply a precursor to the ultimate goal, which is an attack and the destruction of the United States," he said.
On the Israeli-Palestinian track, Huckabee believes the Obama administration has made a "significant tactical mistake."
"The United States has made a very significant tactical mistake in putting all the pressure on the Israelis and none on the Palestinians. It's illogical because what it has done is given the Palestinians no reason whatsoever to give up anything. They're in a position where they can simply sit back, put their feet up and watch Israel get all the pressure," he said.
American evangelicals, Huckabee said, remain Israel's strongest supporters.
"Israelis need to know their best friends in the world right now may not be the current administration, but it certainly remains evangelicals in America," he said.