Israel can expect to find more friends in the next U.S. Congress thanks to an Election Day rout by Republicans, but The New York Times
also reports that a traditionally pro-Israel GOP Congressional caucus now contains a wild card: The Tea Party.
Tea Partyers, who backed dozens of newly elected GOP lawmakers, are widely thought to dislike foreign aid. Israel receives nearly $3 billion in U.S. grants each year for its military and economy, and is "the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II," according to the Congressional Research Service. Senator-elect Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Tea Party favorite, recently told an Israeli lobbying group he opposes foreign aid.
Even so, observers said Republicans' House takeover and Senate gains tilt Washington back toward Israel after a period of open discord between the longtime allies. The Obama White House has criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over new Jewish settlement construction and stalled Palestinian peace talks.
"The administration has to take into account that Israel now has a friendlier forum [in Congress]," said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
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