While President Donald Trump last year made the bold step of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the U.S. State of Florida domiciling a Jewish population of around 630,000 took an even more bold stance declaring Jerusalem as the “eternal and undivided” capital of Israel.
“I speak for a grateful nation half a world away by expressing our deepest appreciation for your friendship,” Deputy Consul General of Israel to Florida Guy Gilady told state officials, the Jerusalem Post reported. “Your recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, speaks not just of truth, but is another shining example of how you are making Florida the most pro-Israel state in the U.S.”
“The state of Florida has long been a stalwart supporter of the Jewish nation. We see a much deeper sense of true friendship that defines the current Florida-Israel relationship,” Gilady continued.
In the spring of 2018, President Trump declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel, fulfilling a campaign promise in the 2016 presidential race. This broke with decades of U.S. anti-Israel foreign policy, ultimately culminating in the transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Rick Scott, Governor of Florida at the time of the embassy relocation, flew to Jerusalem for the opening and dedication of the new embassy, marking his third trip to the Holy Land as governor of the Sunshine State, the Tampa Bay Times reported. U.S. House Representative of Florida at the time, Ron DeSantis, now Governor of Florida, also traveled to Israel for the occasion.
“The establishment of our embassy in Jerusalem fulfills long-standing U.S. policy as enacted by the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995,” DeSantis tweeted according to the Tampa Bay Times report. “It was an honor to be there at this historic occasion! Thanks President Trump for being first president to honor his promise to establish this embassy.”
Earlier this month, newly elected Governor DeSantis, who pledged during his gubernatorial campaign to be the most pro-Israel governor in the nation if elected, and the Florida State Board of Administration voted to sanction Airbnb for its policy of not listing properties or other travel accommodations in Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria. Airbnb is now the first American company blacklisted on a list of “scrutinized” businesses for boycotting Israel.
“We have a moral obligation to oppose the Airbnb policy. It does target Jews specifically. I think that’s wrong,” Governor DeSantis said, according to a second Tampa Bay Times report. “Airbnb claims it’s a company of inclusion and yet this policy only affects Jews who have homes on the West Bank. It doesn’t appear to apply to anyone else on the face of the earth.”
DeSantis further announced that state officials on government trips or other state business will no longer be eligible for reimbursement for lodging or other accommodations through Airbnb.
“We have made it clear that we stand with our closest ally in the Middle East. I too believe in standing strong with our friend and partner and ally,” Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis stated at a cabinet meeting, the Jerusalem Post revealed.
“As a state, we must continue to demonstrate our broad and deep support of our ally and economic partner by implementing pro-Israel policies. Today we declare to the world that Florida stands united with Israel.”
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