WASHINGTON (JTA) — Christians United for Israel garnered more than 20,000 signatures on a letter urging U.S. Sen. Rand Paul to drop calls to end aid to Israel.
"Eliminating aid to Israel would abandon a key ally in a dangerous region at a turbulent time," said the letter organized this week by the evangelical group. "Such a cut would betray our highest principles, endanger our nation, and, in the long run, end up costing us far more."
Paul (R-Ky.), a favorite of the conservative Tea Party movement, last week called for massive budget cuts, including to foreign assistance. When pressed, he said that would include Israel.
"I do not believe that the Senator’s comments are representative of the Tea Party or the wider American public," Pastor John Hagee, CUFI’s founder, said in a statement Wednesday. "CUFI members and leaders have met on several occasions with Tea Party leaders and elected officials; throughout our meetings, Tea Party leaders consistently expressed their commitment to supporting Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East."