DeSantis says Judea and Samaria are not ‘occupied territory’

‘We won’t let the Jewish community be some pinata for people to attack,’ says Florida governor at synagogue visit.

By World Israel News Staff

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis emphasized his pro-Israel bona fides at a campaign stop in a synagogue north of Miami Sunday night, ahead of the November 8th gubernatorial election.

Speaking at a Forward Action Fund event at a synagogue in Bal Harbour, DeSantis drew cheers from the audience as he referenced his policies against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, and rejected claims that Judea and Samaria is “occupied territory.”

“One of the things I said we would do, is that I would ensure that… the State of Florida would be the most pro-Israel state in the United States,” DeSantis said. “We have delivered on it.”

“Before I even took office, we had this issue of Airbnb going to discriminate against Israel and Jews living in Judea and Samaria. So I announced… ‘This will not stand, and we will take action very quickly.’”

“And we did. Once I became governor, we activated our anti-BDS legislation, we identified Airbnb as falling under that, and a couple of weeks later, Airbnb reversed its policy.”

“We were also able to sign in my first year in office the strongest law that combats antisemitism anywhere in the country.”

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“We signed that bill at the US Embassy in Jerusalem,” noting that his first trip abroad as governor was to the Jewish state.”

DeSantis touted his support for Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria, highlighting his visit to the area during his 2019 trade mission to Israel

“The State Department would always say, ‘You can’t go to Judea and Samaria,’ because they say that it is ‘occupied territory.’ I know the history, it is disputed territory. They are among the most historic Jewish lands, and yes, there was a partition agreement on the table in 1948, but the Arabs rejected that agreement and decided to go to war.”

“I was the first major elected official in America to hold a public event in Judea and Samaria. We did an event at Ariel University.”

The governor accused the Biden administration of “playing footsie with Iran,” and condemned the Iran nuclear deal.

“Why would you try to empower Iran after what we witnessed?”

“It did nothing but empower the mullahs in Iran. They got massive amounts of money,” DeSantis said, adding, “They used it to fund terrorism in the Middle East.”

Turning to domestic issues, the governor drew cheers for his support of school choice, and highlighted his administration’s support for security arrangements at Jewish day schools in Florida.

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“If you look at what is happening in other states, there are some states now where Jews are getting singled out for attacks, criminal acts, and unfortunately if happens very frequently. We are not going to let the Jewish community be some piñata in Florida that people feel free to attack.”

DeSantis praised Jewish emergency services group United Hatzalah for its efforts following the condominium collapse in Surf Side.

“United Hatzalah was there, in a major, major way, helping folks.”

“What I saw from this community, was I saw people banding together, stepping up to the plate, doing whatever they could to help their friends, their families, and their neighbors.”