Transition official says Trump will make Mike Huckabee ambassador to Israel and move U.S. embassy to Jerusalem: 'Governor Huckabee is going to see it through'
- Huckabee is a two-time former White House hopeful and former governor of Arkansas; he met with Donald Trump on Friday afternoon
- He's also a Baptist preacher, an electric bass player and a former weekend talk show host on the Fox News Channel
- An official with the Trump presidential transition told DailyMail.com that the president-elect will make Huckabee the U.S. Ambassador to Israel
- The official also said Trump will move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem: 'That's going to happen. Governor Huckabee is going to see it through'
- Jerusalem Post said 'several members of Trump’s transition team confirmed' the appointment, according to International Business Times
- By the end of Friday conflicting reports appeared online
An official serving with President-elect Donald Trump's transition team said Friday that Mike Huckabee will be headed back to the Holy Land as America's ambassador to Israel.
The stunning claim would put the two-time White House hopeful, former Fox News Channel weekend host and former governor of Arkansas in the center of Middle East politics.
And, the official said, his first order of business as the tip of Trump's spear in the region would be moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
'That's going to happen,' the transition official said. 'Governor Huckabee is going to see it through.'
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will be America's next ambassador to Israel, a transition official told DailyMail.com
Huckabee, shown in 2011 at the dedication for a new Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem, will move America's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the source said
Huckabee was among Trump's first Republican primary competitors to support him, appearing at a January 28 Iowa rally Trump held to raise money for veterans charities
David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer who has served as Trump's chief Israel adviser, did not respond to a request for comment on Friday afternoon.
Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., could not be reached for comment. Dermer reportedly met Thursday with several candidates for the ambassadorial post and offered Trump his advice afterward.
Despite congressional approval for moving the U.S. embassy, American leaders have historically tap-danced around the issue of where in Israel America's diplomatic footprint should fall.
No other nation has its embassy in Jerusalem.
But Israel's Knesset and Supreme Court are located in West Jerusalem. The nation captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 'Six-Day War,' taking control of it from Jordan.
An Israeli law in force since 1980 declares that 'Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.'
Arab nations near Israel oppose the idea of making Jerusalem a center of power for the Jewish state. Many of them deny Israel's right to exist at all, and most see Jerusalem as a holy city for Muslims.
Huckabee met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year in Jerusalem and angered Palestinians by calling the West Bank part of Israel
The Obama administration and others before it have insisted that the multiple religious claims on Jerusalem should be decided as part of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, 'the ultimate deal' that Trump said during his campaign he would like to tackle.
Spokespersons for the transition did not respond to a request for confirmation for this story. Huckabee spokesman Hogan Gidley emailed: 'I've got nothing as yet.'
International Business Times separately reported Thursday that according to The Jerusalem Post, 'several members of Trump’s transition team confirmed the former Arkansas governor and minister will assume the post once the administration is installed in January.'
Huckabee arrived at Trump Tower around 1:00 on Friday. Asked by pool reporters why he was meeting with Trump, he joked: 'I'm just here for the Starbucks.'
Asked on his way out, 'What was the meeting about?' Huckabee deadpanned: 'Three hours. Just kidding.'
Huckabee greeted reporters as he entered Trump Tower on Friday, joking that he was 'just here for the Starbucks'
It's Trump's job 'to make the decisions,' Huckabee told reporters.
'The only person giving out jobs in this building is President-elect Donald Trump, not me.'
'It really should come from him,' he declared.
On Friday afternoon the conservative Independent Journal Review published a conflicting report based on a different source who denied Huckabee would become America's ambassador to Israel.
A Jerusalem Post writer started the dominoes falling on Thursday
Huckabee has been to Jerusalem's 'Holy Land' regions dozens of times and offers ten-day guided tours for $5,250 (and the February 2017 trip is still on offer)
Huckabee's appointment to the key diplomatic post, if confirmed, would send shock waves through the Middle East.
In 2011 during a dedication ceremony at a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem, Huckabee said Arabs' attempts to prevent Jewish settlers from building there was comparable to racist housing discrimination in the United States.
Last year in August, as he was shoring up support for his ultimately unsuccessful presidential campaign, Huckabee met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and controversially referred to the Palestinian-occupied territory of West Bank as part of Israel.
A political correspondent with the Jerusalem Post was the first to report that Trump was committed to choosing Huckabee for the job in Israel.
The gregarious and affable Huckabee has long been an unwavering Israel advocate, even parlaying his dozens of trips there into a part-time tourism business, 'The Mike Huckabee Israel Experience.'
The U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel will move to Jerusalem as part of a Trump administration overhaul of U.S.-Israel policy, an official with his presidential transition says
Huckabee hosted a weekend Fox News Channel show bearing his name from 2008 to 2015, playing bass with a house band often fronted by Christian recording artists
For $5,250, participants get a 10-day tour of the Holy Land from Huckabee himself, complete with commentary on historic sites, Christian worship services and moral lessons about the need for America to shore up its closest ally in the region.
'During your Israel Experience trip, you'll walk where Jesus walked, sit atop the Mount of Beatitudes, and pray in the Garden of Gethsemane,' the program's website promises.
'You'll see where He performed miracles, and you'll stand in the empty Garden Tomb. You'll experience the Sea of Galilee and be baptized in the Jordan River. You'll explore Old City Jerusalem, gaze out from Masada, and swim in the Dead Sea. The Bible will come alive for you as never before.'
The next scheduled journey is calendared for February 11-21 – after Trump becomes president.