Sen. Lori Berman’s scuttled plans last month to be in Israel celebrating the Promised Land’s 75th anniversary as a modern state have propelled her onto center stage as the Legislature convenes for a Special Session.
Her Oct. 15 trip was canceled as after a surprise Hamas attack on Oct. 7 left more than 1,400 civilians, mostly Jewish people, dead. Now, she’s making the case for Florida to stand with Israel amid its war with Hamas as the Legislature’s Special Session opens.
The Palm Beach County Democrat is introducing a resolution (SR 8-C) that Florida stands with Israel at Monday’s Senate Rules Committee hearing.
“My parents and grandparents had to worry about pogroms and the Holocaust — and no one came to their aid when those things happened,” said Berman, whose ancestors hail from Russia and Hungary. “And I fear that we are entering into a new era where attacks against us are seen as okay.”
“I want the world to understand that now is the time to speak up against these kinds of actions, so we don’t have Holocaust-like, pogrom-like actions happening throughout the world,” she added.
Hers will be the first of three such resolutions to make it to the committee floor. Her fellow Palm Beach delegation member, Democratic Rep. Katherine Waldron, has filed a similar measurel (HR 9-C). And Brevard County Republican Rep. Randy Fine has filed one (HR 11-C) that expresses support for Israel and condemns Hamas and antisemitism.
Berman said she started writing hers immediately after she canceled her trip, which she planned to take with the South Palm Beach County Jewish Federation.
Berman’s resolution calls for “the immediate end of support, direct or indirect, for Hamas, the Iranian regime and Hezbollah and any other entity that publicly supports these attacks and other terrorist activities.”
“In society, we have lost our way if we think it’s okay to behead people and rape women and parade them in the street and kidnap babies,” Berman said. “I think words matter. And we in the Florida Legislature need to show that we do not accept that kind of behavior.”
Last month would have been her seventh trip to Israel, where she also has relatives living.
When she goes there, she said, “I feel so proud to see this strong, vibrant country with such a high-tech economy. It’s a true miracle. … To think that only 75 years ago it was basically desert and now it’s a thriving country.”