THIS ARTICLE ONLY MENTIONS GOP CANDIDATES WHO HAVE DECLARED AS OF MAY 6TH, 2015. 

Thus far, there have been many candidates who have announced their candidacy for the most powerful office in the free world. The Republican ticket provides a diverse array of candidates, ranging from Libertarian-esque Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, to the deeply religious, social conservative Mike Huckabee. With such a plethora of candidates, there is no doubt that the Republican primary will be intense and full of surprises.

With many candidates entering the race, and most of them having similar ideas, it can be difficult to pick a specific candidate to support. This guide, which is fully unbiased and based off of candidate statements and facts, will help you decide which candidate will be the most loyal, and greatest friend of the State of Israel.

TED CRUZ – Ted Cruz is a solidly conservative Senator from Texas. When describing the vast Republican views on foreign policy, he created a scale using Senator Rand Paul’s “isolationist” idea at one end, and Senator John McCain’s “active interventionism” at the other. Cruz said that he is somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. In relation to Israel, Senator Cruz has always called himself a staunch supporter of the Jewish State, and has strongly defended Israel’s interests in speeches and at events. He has taken sides with Netanyahu on the Iran deal, and has offered an amendment in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which would require affirmative Congressional approval of any Iranian Nuclear Deal. Additionally, Cruz has been quoted as saying that he will “stand unapologetically with the nation of Israel.”

My Grade: A-

RAND PAUL – Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has a bit of an unconventional foreign policy. His Libertarian-esque approach to politics worries many establishment Republicans, yet it excites millennials and various Conservatives. His guiding foreign policy is a strong emphasis on national defense and the lessening of foreign intervention. Early in his Senate career, Paul called for the reduction of foreign aid to Israel, and in a 2011 interview on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, Senator Paul was quoted as saying he would support an end to all foreign aid to Israel. He later clarified his remarks, stating that he is a firm supporter of the State of Israel, and has never proposed anything that would effectively end the annual 3.1 billion the U.S. grants to Israel every fiscal year. As of last year, Rand Paul was active in the Senate, advocating for the defense of Israel. He proposed the “Stand with Israel Act”, which proposes cutting off the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority. He stated on his website, randpaul.com, “As long as the Palestinian Authority is allied with Hamas not one more tax dollar should flow to them.” Rand Paul’s ultimate Israel policy is that they are a vital ally, a valued friend, and a loyal partner, but the United States should give them more independence.

My Grade: B+

MARCO RUBIO – Senator Marco Rubio from Florida is arguably the most pro-Israel candidate in the current 2016 field. He is a strong defender of Israel and Israel’s interests. Senator Rubio gave a blistering speech, in late March, slamming Obama’s Israel policy. He began the speech by claiming how Israel and the United States have shared values, and how an entire Middle East of “Israel-like” nations would make the world significantly more peaceful and prosperous. He then spoke about how the Obama Administration has been an anti-Israel, and upsetting it has been to have a President that has an utter disrespect for the Jewish state. Also, Rubio introduced an amendment in the Bob Corker (R-TN) Iran bill that states that the Iranian regime must recognize Israel’s right to exist if a deal were to be struck with the United States.

My Grade: A

DR. BEN CARSON – Dr. Ben Carson, an African-American retired neurosurgeon, has no political experience whatsoever. He has the ambitious goal of going from never holding any public office, to holding the most prestigious and powerful office in the free world. Since he has zero political experience, he has no foreign policy credentials. However, through various interviews and statements, Dr. Carson has voiced his passion for Israel, and his love for the Jewish State. His first visit to Israel occurred this past December, and he was in awe of the Israel’s perseverance, toughness, and beauty. Additionally, Dr. Carson was quoted as saying, “I would make it very clear that Israel and the United States have a long, cordial relationship, and I don’t think we should ever leave the Israelis in a position of wondering whether we support them.”

My Grade: B (because of inexperience)

CARLY FIORINA – Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is regarded as one of the most powerful and influential women in the world. She also was the first female to run a Fortune 20 company. Like Dr. Carson, Fiorina has never held a public office position. She did run for Senate in 2010, but lost to Barbara Boxer by 10 points. Her Israel policy is very similar to that of her opponents in the primary; support Israel by breaking off nuclear talks, but her campaign has not released any Israel policy information.

My Grade: B (because of inexperience)

MIKE HUCKABEE – Mike Huckabee, the evangelical Christian and strong social conservative, probably knows more about Israel than most of the Republican candidates who will vie for the nomination. As a pastor, Huckabee visits the Israel three to four times a year, where he leads tours there for evangelical Christians. Additionally, Huckabee has been called “America’s leading Zionist Christian.” He strongly believes that Israel is the natural Jewish homeland, granted to the Jewish people by God. He supports the creation of a Palestinian state, yet not in the land of Israel, which differs from the language in the 2012 GOP platform. Lastly, Governor Huckabee supports the existence and expansion of Israeli settlements, which is a controversial topic.

My Grade: A-

As more candidates announce, I will continue to update the list. If you have any questions about this information, its accuracy, and/or the grading scale, feel free to contact me at gerstein.benjamin@gmail.com.