By: Sharon Aron Baron
Surrounded by a group of bipartisan legislators and faith leaders, Governor Ron DeSantis announced several actions his administration is taking to affirm Florida’s steadfast support of the State of Israel.
Hosted by the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, DeSantis outlined three major steps Florida will take to stand with Israel.
“Florida is the most Israel-friendly state in the country and we will not stand for discrimination against the Israeli people of any kind,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.
“By calling for increased security for our Jewish Day Schools, punishing companies that participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and taking my first trade mission to Israel, the Israeli People can be assured that they have no greater friend than Florida. BDS is nothing more than a cloak for anti-Semitism, and as long as I’m Governor, BDS will be DOA. I cannot wait to strengthen the already unwavering bond between Florida and the great state of Israel.”
DeSantis is calling for a minimum of $2 million in recurring funding for security for Jewish Day Schools. Following the tragic anti-Semitic attack in Pittsburg in October 2018, he said that Floridians should feel assured that students and staff are safe at Jewish Day Schools throughout the state and parents should not feel worried about sending their children to a specific school based on their faith.
In November, Airbnb issued a statement outlining a policy that would no longer allow the rental of approximately 200 listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank – a clear discrimination against the Israeli people according to the Governor’s office.
DeSantis wrote a letter instructing the Department of Management Services (DMS) to prohibit state workers and contractors from being reimbursed for official travel expenses incurred through the services of vacation rental company Airbnb.
In addition to his letter, the State Board of Administration (SBA) is reviewing whether Airbnb should be placed on the scrutinized company list. Once the review is completed, they will issue a report to SBA Trustees, DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and CFO Jimmy Patronis.
DeSantis also wrote a letter to Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz of Parkland, to ensure hurricane disaster survivors will not be impacted by this Airbnb directive.
Additionally, he announced that his first international trade mission will be to the State of Israel, keeping a promise made during his campaign for Governor.
The trip will take place after the Legislative Session in May, and members of both parties in the Florida House and Senate will be invited. The focus of the trip will be to expand commercial ties between Florida and Israel as well as to learn from innovative research from Israeli scientists to combat issues facing Florida such as red tide.