Gov. Ron DeSantis will head to Israel next month.
During an appearance at Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El in Plantation, DeSantis said his weeklong trip to the Middle Eastern nation will begin May 25.
“I think it’s a really unprecedented effort to strengthen the ties between Florida and Israel,” he said Tuesday.
The trip will be DeSantis’ first international venture since he was sworn in as Governor in January.
The excursion was organized by Enterprise Florida, a public-private partnership charged with attracting business to the Sunshine State. DeSantis said 75 to 80 people will join him on the trip.
DeSantis gave one insight into his official schedule in Israel — he will deliver the keynote address at the 2019 Israel-American Business Summit, an event co-sponsored by the Federations of Israeli Chambers of Commerce and the U.S. Embassy.
“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 Tuesday.
“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.”
The Governor didn’t mention whether any other Cabinet members would join him, though senior Florida Cabinet aides told Florida Politics late last month that they were in “active discussions” to hold a Cabinet meeting in Israel.
Florida’s relationship with Israel was something DeSantis stressed on the campaign trail and he has made it a priority since taking over as Florida Governor — a few weeks into his term, he announced sanctions against vacation rental company Airbnb for not allowing property listings in the West Bank.
UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: Late Monday afternoon DeSantis further detailed the trip during a news conference with Enterprise Florida President and CEO Jamal Sowell. On the agenda is a Florida Cabinet meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The Governor’s Office also said the trip will foster strategic business partnerships to strengthen the economic bonds between Israel and Florida as well as connect Israeli and Florida academic institutions to help facilitate scientific solutions for Florida’s environmental challenges.
“I promised to be the most Pro-Israel Governor in America and that the first delegation I would lead would be to the state of Israel,” DeSantis said. “Today, I’m pleased to report that I’m keeping that promise. Our delegation will bring business, academic and political leaders to help strengthen the bond between Florida and Israel.”
Sowell added, “Thank you, Gov. DeSantis, for making this trade mission a high priority for Florida Enterprise Florida looks forward to hosting this historic trade mission and expanding international trade opportunities with Israel.”