Kentucky suddenly finds itself in the midst of conversations between world leaders and elected officials concerned with intelligence sharing, the safety of our men and women in uniform, the rise of terror in the Middle East and the declining security situation throughout the region. That’s because Kentucky is presenting two opposing views to the world through its elected officials: One Kentucky whose values are well-represented and another that puts the Bluegrass State on the wrong side of the Republican Party, our national interests and history itself.

The problem begins and ends with Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOn The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills Paul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight MORE (R-Ky.) and his inconsistent views on U.S. support for Israel. In the past, Paul has supported legislation strengthening the intelligence, security and military relationship between the U.S. and Israel, either in committee votes or on the floor of the Senate. But Paul has flip-flopped on one of the most crucial bills to cross his desk in recent years by placing a hold on the U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act.


When the bill was first in the Senate, prior to the House of Representatives making minor changes to the legislation, Paul did not block its passage. But then he inexplicably changed course, and is now stymieing important legislation which enjoys widespread bipartisan support. In doing so, Paul is holding up the business of the Senate by putting his personal ideas ahead of the interests of our state and our country.

A look around the region makes clear why Israel needs our support; its neighborhood is crumbling. There are five armies fighting a war in Syria. Yemen is in ruins. Hezbollah is stronger than ever in Lebanon. Hamas continues to exercise control over Gaza. Refugees are overwhelming Jordan. Egypt is battling terror groups in the Sinai. And until very recently, an emboldened and enriched Iran was extending its tentacles from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea.

Underscoring the urgency of Israel’s security situation, we are just days removed from Hamas firing hundreds of rockets against the main streets, schools, shops and synagogues of cities and towns across southern Israel.

Through the unfolding chaos, Israel continues to be the best source of intelligence that America has in Middle East. It is a bedrock of stability, a confident democratic ally and one of Kentucky’s most important economic partners overseas.

The economic relationship between Kentucky and Israel is something that Gov. Matt Bevin understands all too well. Just weeks ago, in a blow to the anti-Semitic effort to boycott, divest from or sanction Israel, Bevin signed an executive order prohibiting state contractors from boycotting Israel and any other nation with which Kentucky may legally do business (lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are trying advance similar legislation – the Combatting BDS Act – but contrary to his voters and his colleagues, Paul has chosen to obstruct this important measure as well).

This is important because in 2012, Kentucky received nearly $16 million in foreign military financing as a result of U.S. aid to Israel. Supporting Israel is a pocketbook issue for thousands of voters because when the U.S. signs an agreement to aid an ally like Israel, Israel is required to use the bulk of those resources to purchase from us the gear, planes, technology and weapons that it needs to address its unique situation. Ensuring Israel’s security is an engine that powers jobs right here at home.

Companies like LSY Defense, LLC and Lys International, Inc., both in Louisville, and Lexel Imaging Systems, Inc. in Lexington have had a direct benefit in recent years and more would be on the way, if not for the hold that Paul has placed on this critical legislation.

We need Kentucky’s full congressional delegation to stand up in support of what will help keep our country and Kentucky safe, free and prosperous.

We know that every so often Kentucky’s junior senator opposes bills like this one supporting Israel’s security, even though they largely benefit American – and Kentuckian – workers. He’s made his point. Now is the time for Paul to allow the Senate to move on with the business of governing by lifting his hold on the bill, not only because it’s good for Kentucky and the country, but because it’s simply the right thing to do.

Sandra Hagee Parker is chairwoman of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Action Fund.