TEL AVIV – In another seemingly antagonistic move towards Israel, Hillary Clinton’s pick for running mate Sen. Tim Kaine was revealed to be one of only 17 senators not to sign a letter urging President Barack Obama in April to increase the U.S. military aid package to the Jewish state.
The letter, sponsored by Chris Coons and Lindsey Graham, was a bipartisan appeal to Obama for a “robust” new military aid package “that increases aid to Israel and retains the current terms of the existing aid program.”
Eighty-three senators signed the letter while 13 Democrats, three Republicans, and one Independent declined to do so, including Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Clinton expressed support for a robust defense package during her speech in March to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, saying that the Jewish state is entitled to receive “the most sophisticated defense technology” available.
Since his appointment, Kaine has come under fire for holding seemingly anti-Israel views, including staunchly supporting the Iran deal, which he called “a dramatic improvement over the status quo.” On Friday, Breitbart News noted that “Kaine was ultimately unwilling to heed the concerns of Israelis across the spectrum from left to right.” The report further noted Kaine’s decision to join anti-Israel radicals in Congress in boycotting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech.
The Republican Jewish Coalition slammed Clinton for tapping Kaine as her VP.
“After leading President Obama’s disastrous foreign policy in the Middle East, Hillary Clinton’s selection of Senator Kaine as her running mate further proves she cannot be trusted to keep our country safe,” RJC’s executive director Matt Brooks said in a press release.
“A Clinton-Kaine White House would continue the same failed policies that have made the US and our allies around the world less safe,” Brooks added.
The terms of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the U.S.’s defense package have been under negotiations for months. The final sum is expected to be in the range of $38 billion over the next decade, constituting a $4 billion increase from the current package, which expires in October 2017.
However, one notable difference is that Israel would likely be prohibited from spending the funds outside the U.S.
The letter to Obama said that “the nature and breadth of the current threats” facing Israel “mean that the United States must enhance its investment in the long-term security requirements of our closest Middle East ally” by providing “Israel the resources it requires to defend itself and preserve its qualitative military edge.”