Washington – Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky seems to have had a change of heart about Israel after spending a week in the Jewish State and meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and top-level Israeli leaders, according to a report in the Business Insider (http://read.bi/13IfEBP).
When asked by VIN News representative Ezra Friedlander about his position on the Iron Dome during a Q & A session with reporters, Paul said he supports Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, and believes the United States should put a similar system in place in the nation’s major cities.
“Absolutely I’m in favor of it,” Paul said. “There’s no reason our White House, our Capitol, and our major cities shouldn’t have a missile defense. I saw presentations on the Iron Dome and it was very impressive.”
Paul’s supportive comments came as a surprise to many since he has long been viewed as being anti-Israel for opposing foreign aid to Israel. But Paul said his trip to the Middle East was in large part to dispel that notion. “Part of the reason I am here is to show that I am not anti-Israel,” he said. “There is this perception out there that because I’m in favor of cutting foreign aid I am not a friend to Israel. . .But there is more than one way to be a friend to Israel.”
In fact, Paul said, he shares the same views as those who are hawkish about Israel’s future and does not believe the United States should be dictating to Israel about their settlements. “If somebody asked me where to build in Israel, I would say it’s none of my business,” Paul said. “What I think is wrong is for American politicians to come to Jerusalem and say, ‘You shouldn’t be building in this neighborhood’. . .or for American politicians to come over and tell you that you need to give the Golan Heights back.”
Still, Paul said, he believes Israel will always be beholden to the United States so long as it is receiving American foreign aid. “I don’t think Israel should be dictated to,” he said. But I also think that if Israel were less dependent on our aid, it would be less beholden. I don’t think Israel needs to come on bended knee to ask if she can defend herself.”
While Paul did not call for eliminating foreign aid to Israel, he did say that the United States should first end funding to nations which “burn the American Flag” such as Egypt and the Palestinians. “The biggest threat to our nation right now is our debt,” he said. “This does mean that we have to reassess who to give aid to, and when we do reassess that, I would begin with countries that are burning our flag and chanting ‘Death to America.’ No one is accusing Israel of that.”