Gov. Ron DeSantis’ budget would add $10 million for security at Jewish day schools in addition to $15 million that was earmarked for the same purpose during last month’s Special Session.
The Governor made it clear during his remarks that the outlay for the 2024-25 fiscal year is a response to the antisemitism that’s been unleashed since the outbreak of Middle East violence that started with the massacre of about 1,400 people in Israel on Oct. 7. This proposal doubles what he proposed for the same purpose last year.
“We are also going to continue to provide resources for Jewish day schools, which unfortunately, in this day and age can be targeted,” DeSantis said.
“We’ve done a lot to make sure that doesn’t happen in Florida, but you see what’s going around in the country right now,” DeSantis continued. “It’s really, really sad to see some of the outpouring of hate regarding our Jewish community.”
DeSantis’ 2024-25 budget would also allocate $600,000 to the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg and $100,000 for the Florida Holocaust Task Force, the same amounts he proposed for last year’s budget.
Rep. Randy Fine, the Legislature’s only Jewish Republican, said he has proposed security boosts to Jewish day schools since he began serving in the House starting in 2017 and the funding started under Gov. Rick Scott.
The amount in the Governor’s proposed budget is the same that the Brevard County Republican said he is proposing. The administration has routinely taken the number he proposes and puts it in the budget, Fine said.
Fine said he might introduce an amendment to his request that would add money for transportation safety concerns.
“Obviously, the world has changed,” Fine said.
So has Fine’s relationship with the DeSantis. Shortly after the onset of hostilities between Israel and Hamas, the terrorists behind the Oct. 7 attacks, Fine endorsed former President Donald Trump’s bid to return to the White House, after being a close ally of DeSantis.
Fine had cited the Governor’s handling of antisemitic attacks in switching his allegiance in an October Washington Times op-ed shortly after the violence in Israel.
“Eighteen months ago, my Nazi ‘friends’ showed up in Florida. They assaulted a Rabbi. They beat up a Jew who yelled back at one of their protests. They commandeered highway overpasses to illegally hang banners saying ‘Gas the Jews.’ They have tormented Jews at their homes with filth,” Fine wrote. “Until a few weeks ago, Governor DeSantis said almost nothing. And worse, he did almost nothing.”