TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (NEWS SERVICE FLORIDA) - Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday he and members of the Florida Cabinet will meet in Israel as part of his first international excursion on behalf of the state.
During an appearance at Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El in Plantation, DeSantis called the planned meeting with Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Attorney General Ashley Moody and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis “historic,” according to the governor’s office.
The trip will begin May 25 after the end of the state legislative session.
“I think it’s a really unprecedented effort to strengthen the ties between Florida and Israel,” DeSantis said.
The week-long trip is being organized by the state’s business-recruitment arm, Enterprise Florida, and will include an entourage of about 75 to 80 people from business, academic and emergency-management fields, DeSantis said.
DeSantis will also be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Israel-American Business Summit, which is being held that week by the Federations of Israeli Chambers of Commerce and the U.S. Embassy, he said.
DeSantis said the two countries have “shared values” in addition to economic ties and military relationships. “You have a tiny little country in a troubled part of the world standing for freedom, for democratic principles, for entrepreneurship, for innovation,” DeSantis said. “And really, the foundation of our civilization here in the United States, and really the entire West can be traced back to that plot of land.”
DeSantis also has made other efforts to support Israel. In January, DeSantis led the state Cabinet in taking a first step toward imposing economic sanctions against the home-sharing platform Airbnb because of a company decision against listing properties in the West Bank, an area that is a major flashpoint in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Meanwhile Tuesday, Airbnb announced it would not remove listings in the West Bank. The announcement came as the company said settlement terms had been reached involving lawsuits brought by hosts and potential hosts and guests who objected to the delisting policy for disputed areas.
“We understand the complexity of the issue that was addressed in our previous policy announcement, and we will continue to allow listings throughout all of the West Bank, but Airbnb will take no profits from this activity in the region,” the company said in a statement.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.