Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called for a reduction in U.S. aid to Israel on Monday during his first visit to the nation.
Over the weekend, the Kentucky Republican fielded reporter questions which allude to the possibility that he is gearing up for a 2016 Presidential bid, speculation the Senator neither confirmed nor denied. His call for reduced American aid to Israel — an unpopular policy position among most Republicans — came during a press briefing.
Paul said that the $3 billion a year the U.S. provides its Mideast ally could possibly weaken both countries as the United States continues to battle massive debt and deficit spending.
“It will (be) harder to be a friend of Israel if we are out of money. It will be harder to defend Israel if we destroy our country in the process,” he told the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, an Israeli think tank. “I think there will be significant repercussions to running massive deficits … you destroy your currency by spending money you don’t have.”
Paul has long been a critic of American foreign aid spending. He penned a letter to fellow lawmakers late last year calling for cuts in foreign aid spending to Pakistan, Egypt and Libya.
The Senator explained in his most recent call for cutting foreign aid that American money is being used to fuel an arms race in the Mideast that will ultimately make the region more dangerous for Israel.
“I’m concerned that some of the weaponry that we are currently giving to Egypt may one day be used against Israel,” he said.
Paul also said that reduced aid to Israel would give leaders of that country more room to make defense decisions without first having to acquire U.S. permission “on bended knee.”