Normally I don’t wander into Republican primary debates. But who can resist when a leading candidate says that he wants to zero out all foreign aid, until they justify it? Perry remarked in response to a Twitter question:

“Obviously, Israel is a special ally, and my bet is that we would be funding them at some substantial level,” Perry said. “But it makes sense for everyone to come in at zero and make your case. As a matter of fact, we ought to try doing that with some of those agencies that I was trying to think the name of.”

Really? Really?

By the end of the debate, Perry’s campaign issued a statement with a major clarification: Perry is “a friend to Israel and understands the challenges faced by the country,” according to Talking Points Memo.

“We must not let any daylight show between our two nations,” the statement says, adding that Perry “does not believe weakening Israel is the road to peace. A strong Israel is in the best interests of the United States and the region.”

Texas is home to the largest pro-Israel Christian groups in the country, Christian United for Israel.

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Rabbi Yonah


  • Your post makes it sound like if we followed Perry’s plan and started Israel’s aid at zero that Israel would have trouble justifying receiving anywhere near as much as they do.

  • It’s a blunder if you want to avoid having a discussion about our relationships with Israel and whether they deserve the amount of aid we give them.

    Maybe we could ask former Defense Secretary Robert Gates to weigh in.

  • Well Andy, I’m happy to discuss whether or not we deserve the aid you provide us here in Israel. I think we do, but by all means let me know what you think.

  • I’m happy to discuss whether or not we deserve the aid you provide us

    Tell it to Yonah. He is the one that freaked out when such an evaluation was suggested.

  • Where did Yonah freak out? He just suggested that Perry’s proposal wasn’t very well thought out. Which it wasn’t given his base of support. Yonah is totally capable of rational conversation. But I don’t want to get sidetracked or anything – I am totally happy to discuss this issue, if you want.

  • You guys know I have a special love for Jewlicious, but I gotta ask what this post is about, and what’s the intention behind? And where’s this flop at?

    He never said Israel would not be funded during a Perry administration—the opposite, as you note above. So what’s going on here?

    Disclaimer: I have no special love or hate for Perry. Just seeking clarification myself here.

  • I frankly don’t care. Congress and the President should assess every dollar that goes to foreign aid and determine where money should and shouldn’t go. I have a feeling that Israel would still continue to receive substantial aid. I personally see nothing wrong with a candidate opening this door and think Israel should be completely unafraid of having this door open. At the end of the day, it remains a democracy, a key ally, a bulwark in an unstable Middle East, a partner on key defense systems, a partner in key intelligence and a country that shares many values with the USA. This places Israel in sharp contrast to most of the other countries and non-countries receiving aid from the USA.

    The question Israel should ask itself, however, is whether it really wants to continue receiving this aid. While there are many positives to this aid, there are also some serious negatives. I personally would like to see Israel accept less and less aid in proportion to diminishing gifts to nations near Israel who may become its foes at one point in the future.

  • Let’s also not forget this post was penned by a guy who endorsed and voted for and continues to support Barack Obama, the greatest friend Israel ever had. I can’t believe the amount of invisible irony around these parts. 🙂

  • You did, and valiantly at that. With that said, do you think Obama has been good on Israel and would you even consider voting against him next year?

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