JERUSALEM (JTA) — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul called for a reduction of foreign assistance during a visit to Israel.
Paul (R-Ky.), who opposes foreign assistance, including defense aid to Israel, on Monday told the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies that the United States will always be Israel’s friend but that "it will be harder and harder to be a friend if we are out of money."
Paul, one of four new Republicans appointed to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the United States should start cutting its foreign assistance by ending foreign aid to countries not friendly to Israel.
Israel receives about $3 billion a year in military aid from the United States. The majority of the aid must be spent in the United States.
Paul, who arrived in Israel on Sunday, is scheduled to meet on Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. He is scheduled to travel to Jordan on Tuesday to meet King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The senator is visiting Israel with a group of evangelical Christians. He is scheduled to tour the Galilee.
Unlike his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a perennial presidential contender who has laced his arguments against assistance for Israel with harsh criticisms of the Jewish state, the younger Paul casts his opposition to assistance as a matter of independence for Israel from undue American influence.
The Foreign Relations Committee sets the Senate’s foreign policy agenda, although the primary voice on foreign assistance remains the Senate’s Appropriations Committee.
Paul is believed to be considering a presidential run in 2016.