WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul wants to end all foreign assistance, including aid to Israel.
Paul, a Republican newly elected in Kentucky, was on CNN Wednesday outlining where he would cut the $500 billion in government spending he says is critical to sustaining the U.S. economy. His focus was on the departments of energy, education and housing.
Interviewer Wolf Blitzer then asked about foreign assistance, asking if he wanted to end "all foreign aid." Paul said yes, and Blitzer asked him about aid to Israel.
"Well, I think what you have to do is you have to look," Paul said. "When you send foreign aid, you actually [send] quite a bit to Israel’s enemies. Islamic nations around Israel get quite a bit of foreign aid, too.
"You have to ask yourself, are we funding an arms race on both sides? I have a lot of sympathy and respect for Israel as a democratic nation, as a, you know, a fountain of peace and a fountain of democracy within the Middle East."
Blitzer pressed, "End all foreign aid including the foreign aid to Israel as well. Is that right?" he asked.
Paul answered, "Yes."
Paul is a favorite of the Tea Party insurgency that propelled the Republican takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives in the most recent election.
His father is Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), considered among the least Israel-friendly members of Congress.
During the campaign, Paul distanced himself from some of his father’s views, particularly on whether Iran poses a threat to U.S. interests, but nonetheless elicited concerns from pro-Israel groups because of his insistence on slashing foreign aid.