Following on Sen. Rand Paul’s recent announcement that he will visit Israel next month, pro-Israel Christian groups say they are taking a wait-and-see attitude towards the senator’s evolving Israel policies, according to Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post.
The director of America’s largest Christian Zionist group told Rubin he hopes Paul will drop his opposition to U.S. military aid for the Jewish State.
The Kentucky Republican has confirmed that he is eyeing a 2016 run for the presidency, and has been working hard to engage pro-Israel Christians and Jews. Rubin wrote this morning that Paul told her “the one impression about him that is particularly wrong” is that he is unfriendly to the Jewish State.
Paul is a leader of Tea Party fiscal conservatives, but diverges from most Tea Partiers in his isolationist foreign policy views. In the past Paul has opposed both foreign aid to Israel and U.S. economic sanctions against Iran. But Paul also insisted to Rubin that “‘Israel shouldn’t be dictated to by the U.S. They are a sovereign country,’ Paul said — whether the issue is the peace process or Gaza.”
Rubin also spoke with David Brog, who directs the 1.2 million-member Christians United for Israel (CUFI). “Brog makes the case that support for Israel actually meshes with Paul’s desire to conduct foreign policy with limited revenues. By providing military aid to Israel, Brog argued, we enable an ally to fight our common enemies.”
Brog was hopeful that Paul’s Israel trip might “expose him to the facts,” and change his mind. “We’ve seen such trips work complete transformations in the past, most notably when Senator Jesse Helms flew to Israel in 1984 as a vocal critic of the Jewish state and returned home to be among Israel’s staunchest supporters.”
Paul said his wife and their three teen-age boys will accompany him to Israel to see “our Judeo-Christian roots,” and that he plans to meet with political leaders “from all sides.”