Making his first visit to Israel, prospective Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says he is in awe of the Jewish state, inspired by its ancient holy sites, and impressed by the resilience of people living in a perpetual conflict zone.

Carson also says that he's deeply disappointed in President Barack Obama and believes that Obama hasn't sought to cultivate the relationship between the two nations.

Carson is a retired neurosurgeon who has emerged as a favorite of some conservatives in the early field of possible GOP candidates. In an interview this week with The Associated Press in Jerusalem, he says he doesn't think the U.S. should ever leave the Israelis in a position of wondering whether the U.S. supports them.