Florida Gov. DeSantis in Israel: Our state most pro-Israel in Union

DeSantis is leading a trade delegation of 100 people to Israel starting on Sunday.

By World Israel News Staff and AP

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is keeping his campaign promise that the first country he would visit as governor would be Israel. He arrived on Sunday with a delegation of close to 100 people.

DeSantis’ office said the visit would include “business meetings” with education officials, business leaders, lawmakers and the head of the state’s tourism marketing agency. It’s expected that the governor will devote a good deal of his attention to Israel’s high-tech sector.

DeSantis says the visit will show Florida is the biggest supporter of Israel among the 50 states.

DeSantis has a strong pro-Israel record and promised during his campaign that he would be the “most pro-Israel governor in the country,” promising to aggressively fight the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement.

In January, he warned that Airbnb would face sanctions in his state in response to the company’s decision not to list Israeli properties in Judea and Samaria. The online apartment-rental giant has since retreated from its position.

“There’s no question it’s going to help us,” said Sen. Joe Gruters, who also chairs the Republican Party of Florida. “When people are criticizing members of the Jewish faith and Israel, you have a stark contrast in what Ron DeSantis is doing … letting people know that we do care and that it is a priority for him and the state to be mindful and respectful of the Jews that are living here.”

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Gruters sponsored a bill recently passed by the Legislature that prohibits anti-Semitism in Florida’s public schools and universities. It’s possible DeSantis will sign the bill into law while in Israel.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried was already in the country Saturday for the third day of her own trade mission.