Florida Governor Ron Desantis issued a statement on Tuesday evening at the beginning of Israeli Memorial Day.
DeSantis vowed to stand “shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel” and recognized “those who have lost their lives in defense of the beacon of democracy and liberty in the Middle East, our ally, the State of Israel.”
“Every casualty on the battlefield or loss of life in an act of terror is a tragedy. Your presence here to remember those who have passed and honor their legacies reminds us that the flourishing of the Jewish state today is rooted in the sacrifices of those who have laid down their lives over the past three-quarters of a century.”
The governor went on to tout his pro-Israel accomplishments.
“I have been a staunch supporter of Israel throughout my time in elected office. As a Congressman, I worked to ensure Israel maintained its qualitative military edge and received the military assistance Israel needs to defend itself.”
“I pushed for the US embassy to be moved to Jerusalem…and I encouraged the US to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”
“My administration has also combatted the antisemitic BDS movement by placing companies that target Israel on Florida’s List of Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel, including Airbnb and Ben & Jerry’s.”
The Florida governor also stated that the relationship between his state and Israel was reciprocal.
“Last year, we witnessed the heroism and skill of the Israel Defense Forces just miles from where you are gathered when we welcomed the IDF’s Search and Rescue Brigade to assist at the tragic Champlain Towers collapse site.”
The governor’s connection to the Holy Land goes much deeper. In 2019, Desantis led a delegation of more than 90 leading citizens on a trade mission to Israel. The group included powerhouse lobbyists and business, education, and religious leaders.
While in Israel, the governor signed a resolution honoring the “Israeli-Florida relationship.” He also signed a bill prohibiting anti-Semitic remarks in Floridian public schools, forbidding comments that draw “comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis,” blame “Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions,” and require “behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”
The governor, a Roman Catholic, concluded his trip with a visit to the Western Wall. While at the Jewish site that served as a retaining wall for the Jewish Temples that stood on the Temple Mount, Desantis offered up a silent prayer. Before leaving, he inserted a note between the rocks, as per popular custom, with the words, “Good Lord, spare us hurricanes this year.”
It was also reported that Florida Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz placed an identical note in the Western Wall when he visited Israel one month earlier.