Fresh off a trip to Israel, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says his mission was to prove he is an ally of the Middle Eastern nation.

Many pro-Israel groups have been wary of the senator, because of his calls to reduce foreign aid. Paul’s father, Ron Paul, the former U.S. representative and Republican presidential candidate, also had a frosty relationship with pro-Israel groups.

But the senator said he learned a lot from his trip and worked to solidify his relationships with the U.S. ally.

“My going over there was to cement that, not to rub salt in the wound and say, ‘Oh I’m not going to give anymore money to Israel,” Paul said. “Really it’s always been about foreign aid that we can’t continue to borrow from China to send anywhere really.”

Paul said a bankrupt America is less of an ally to Israel than if Congress slightly reduced foreign aid payments.