Although Ron DeSantis hasn’t yet announced his candidacy for president, his upcoming campaign was on full show on Thursday at a conference in Jerusalem, where he covered many topics important to American Jews and Israel.
Most of the Florida governor’s comments followed what has emerged as Republican dogma in the wake of Donald Trump: He favors maintaining Jerusalem thoroughly under Israeli authority and Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
He desires a more assertive stance from the US over Iran’s nuclear program. He passionately disagrees with the boycott of the Israel movement.
He also refrained from commenting on the Israeli government’s efforts to curtail the Israeli Supreme Court’s authority, which Democratic President Joe Biden has consistently criticized.
He added that the right of Israel to determine its governance is something that America must accept.
“You live in a wise nation. You resolve it. We shouldn’t be getting involved in these crucial matters.
In addition, he dismissed as “fake narratives” assertions that his legislation had resulted in the state’s prohibition of Holocaust-related literature, even though numerous Holocaust-related books had already been removed from classrooms.
He also signed a law to punish antisemitic harassment at a news conference. He also praised a new law that offers parents of children attending private schools vouchers worth thousands of dollars, which Orthodox supporters applauded.
DeSantis arrived in Israel yesterday and delivered the keynote address at a conference held by the Jerusalem Post on Thursday at the Museum of Tolerance in this city.
He earned numerous applauses and standing ovations throughout the morning. After his speech, he held a news conference where some followers sat among the media and applauded his comments.
DeSantis has made four stops abroad, with Israel being the most recent. He is anticipated to declare his intention to challenge former President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination later this year.
He will meet with President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and other authorities while on the trip. He will make stops in the UK, South Korea, and Japan along the way.
DeSantis spoke about his historical support for Israel in his speech, including his support for the transfer of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018 and conducting a Florida cabinet meeting in Jerusalem in 2019.
In addition, he revealed to the assembly that he baptized his kids in the Sea of Galilee and left a note in the Western Wall pleading with God to spare Florida from hurricane season.
DeSantis’ support for the Bible and his use of the term “Judea and Samaria,” which is the Israeli government’s preferred term for the region and emphasizes its significance in the Bible, both contributed to his stance on the West Bank, which he referred to as “disputed” rather than “occupied.”
He also strongly opposed maintaining Israeli authority over eastern Jerusalem, arguing that this is the most effective method to guarantee the city’s religious freedom.
Palestinians want their future state’s capital to be located in the eastern part of the city.
He claimed people could freely practice their religion thanks to Israeli authority over Jerusalem. They are free to browse their sites freely.
That would not be the case if that were in someone else’s hands.
DeSantis avoided mentioning the past president by using the phrase “the previous administration” in his speech, even though his views on Israel align with those of Trump and Trump’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, was present at the conference.
After delivering his speech, DeSantis announced collaborations with Israeli companies to create tech goods and painted his state as a welcoming place for Jews.
He said the state had spent millions on Holocaust education and synagogue security. Additionally, he approved legislation that outlaws littering to intimidate and project threatening pictures without authorization on buildings.
White supremacist activities have recently increased in Florida. There moved the far-right antisemitic Goyim Defense League last year.
In October, antisemitic remarks from musician Kanye West were promoted in several Jacksonville public places.
Neo-Nazis terrorized visitors to a Chabad center in the Orlando region in February, and police detained a guy last week for an assault on a woman in March.