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In Israel, U.S. senator calls for gradual cut in foreign aid

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 7, 2013 at 8:51 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Rand Paul on Monday called for a gradual reduction of American foreign aid, delivering the message in an unlikely venue — since Israel is among the top recipients of American assistance.

Paul, R-Ky., said the U.S. can’t afford to keep borrowing money and then handing it out to others, even to allies like Israel.

“It will harder to be a friend of Israel if we are out of money. It will be harder to defend Israel if we destroy our country in the process,” he told the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, an Israeli think tank. “I think there will be significant repercussions to running massive deficits ... you destroy your currency by spending money you don’t have.”

Paul, a longtime opponent of foreign aid, acknowledged he was expressing a “minority opinion” and doubted Congress would end foreign aid in his lifetime. “It’s unlikely anything changes, but I think it is worth discussing,” he said during his first trip to Israel.

Israel gets about $3 billion a year in military aid from the U.S.

Paul insisted Washington should first cut aid to countries with strained ties to America, such as Pakistan and Egypt, and only later wean Israel off aid. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously stated he was interested in doing that.

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