4:00 — I understand how politically popular Israel is on Capitol Hill, but its still somewhat amazing just how completely questions about Israel have dominated the Hagel confirmation hearings. Utah Republican Mike Lee used his entire allotted time to press Hagel to explain past statements that appeared to draw a moral equivalency between Israeli military activity and Palestinian terrorism. Ted Cruz had recordings of some of Hagel’s comments on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” played in the hearing room to raise pretty much the same critique. Some Democrats have concerns about Hagel’s views on Israel as well, but its pretty much the only thing Republicans want to talk about. The question is whether GOP senators are using Israel solely to score political points against a nominee who seems virtually certain to be confirmed or whether – as seems highly, highly unlikely – they seriously believe they can use the Israel issue to kill Hagel’s nomination.