DeSantis ‘may be more pro-Israel than Trump’ – senior Republican
After more than two years of Biden policies, Israelis are deeply concerned about the next US presidential election. While Trump has a proven track record of pro-Israel policies, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced his intention to run as the Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election, and pro-Israel voters are wondering which candidate to support.
One expert thinks it almost doesn’t matter. DeSantis is a proven pro-Israel politician, “maybe even more than Trump.”
Last week, DeSantis announced his intention to run for president on a Twitter platform that crashed when over 700,000 listeners inundated it. Despite the glitch, his campaign received over $1 million in the first hour.
Most polls place him well ahead of the other candidates, Nikki Haley, former US ambassador to the United Nations, and Tim Scott, a US senator from South Carolina. He is still considered to be lagging behind former President Donald Trump. While Trump lost his 2020 bid for the White House to Joe Biden, DeSantis won his 2022 gubernatorial race by a landslide. However, some polls show that Trump would lose in a head-to-head battle against Biden, whereas DeSantis would win.
He has made statements indicating his intention on foreign policy, though as governor, he has yet to act on these intentions; his stance on Israel is clear. DeSantis has already proven that he is a strong advocate of the Jewish State, showing that his claim in 2019 that he would be “the most pro-Israel governor in America” was not an empty promise. He paid his fifth visit to Israel in May for an international trade mission. In 2019, DeSantis concluded his trip to Israel with a visit to the Western Wall. While at the Jewish site, DeSantis offered up a silent prayer. Before leaving, as per popular custom, he inserted a note between the rocks with the words, “Good Lord, spare us hurricanes this year.”
DeSantis was also a member of the Israel Caucus and made an undivided Jerusalem one of his major issues.
He recently signed the “Public Nuisances” bill, making it a felony for hate groups to harass people for their religion or ethnicity. He also signed CS/CS/HB 741: Anti-Semitism into law, which is aimed at preventing discrimination on the basis of faith in Florida public schools.
And this Israel support goes back a long way. In 2013, DeSantis introduced the Palestinian Accountability Act, which called to halt US aid to the Palestinian Authority until it formally recognized Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and severed all ties with Hamas.
DeSantis co-introduced the Non-Discrimination of Israel in Labeling Act, which defended the right of Israeli producers to label products manufactured in the West Bank as “Israeli.” In addition, he supported the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In an act that graphically illustrated the mutual interests of Jews and Christians, in 2022, DeSantis stated his intention to make his state the first to teach “the Hebrew Bible,” a requirement in Civics in Florida public schools.
Marc Zell, chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, campaigned strongly for President Trump in 2020 but did not hold back when praising his potential adversary from Florida.
“DeSantis is amazing on Israel,” Zell told Israel365 News. “He’s every bit as good and maybe even better than Trump. It’s hard to believe.”
As the head of Republicans of Israel, Zell has met DeSantis several times in Israel and knows that his Israel advocacy is far more than political expediency.
“He’s an extremely strong supporter of Israel, and it’s not because of his wanting to get the Jewish votes or anything like that,” Zell said. “He believes in Israel as a matter of faith and as a matter of policy.”
Zell has been open about his gratitude for the pro-Israel policies that came out of the Trump administration. However, he lamented that the Biden administration has nearly reversed all of these policies in a mere two and a half years.
Israel365 News asked Zell if he had a wish list to present to “President DeSantis,” should the opportunity arise.
“We all know what the issues are, and he has already taken a strong position on all of them,” Zell said. “The United States must not make any kind of overtures to Iran, for its own sake, and for Israel. Instead of pushing the Iranian nuclearization program, a policy Biden is blindly copying from his former boss, President Obama, the US must support Israel in our attempt to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”
“The second thing I would say is to return to the Trump administration’s policies concerning the Palestinians and stop sending money to the Palestinian Authority while they continue to rant against Israel, both in the United Nations and around the world. DeSantis, or whoever is elected, must resurrect the Taylor Force Act, which was enacted during the Trump administration and has atrophied during the Biden administration.”
The Taylor Force Act is an Act of the US Congress to stop American economic aid to the Palestinian Authority until the PA ceases paying stipends through the Palestinian Authority Martyr’s Fund to individuals who commit acts of terrorism and to the families of deceased terrorists.
“Also, the US support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA ) needs to stop, and the United States needs to resume its boycott of the United Nations Human Rights Council because of the absurdly anti-American and anti-Israeli positions taken by those organizations.”
Perhaps the best evidence for candidate DeSantis’ deeply personal Christian connection to the Jewish state can best be illustrated by an anecdote he related on his last trip to Israel. He related that this took place when he first visited the Holy Land as a congressman with his wife, Casey.
“We did not yet have kids, and so one of the things that Casey did when we were visiting the Sea of Galilee was to take up an empty bottle of water and fill it up with water from the Sea of Galilee so that when we did have kids, we would use that water from here in Israel to baptize our kids.”
His first two children were indeed baptized with the water from Israel but the bottle was misplaced when he moved into the Governor’s Mansion. He mentioned the mishap while giving an address in a synagogue in Boca Raton.
“Within 24 hours, there were people here in Israel digging into the Sea of Galilee, and I was sent, all the way from Israel, this beautiful big glass jar filled with water from the Sea of Galilee that sat on my desk in the Governor’s office in Tallahassee until our third child was born and baptized, and we used that water to do it,” DeSantis said.
A former Navy officer and congressman, DeSantis is known as a non-nonsense and effective administrator who led Florida through the COVID pandemic without shutting down the state. His fiscal policies have created the largest budget surplus in Florida history. He has called for curtailing federal spending. He is a powerful symbol of the culture wars in America, passing legislation that prohibits teaching sexual orientation and critical race theory in schools while fighting to prevent medical and surgical castration of minors. He has called for secure borders and, like Trump, has committed to building a border wall. He opposes defunding the police and introduced a $5,000 signing bonus for Florida police officers in a bid to attract out-of-state police recruits. He also passed an anti-riot law that also prohibits the destruction of statues and monuments.
In his personal life, he married Casey DeSantis in 2009 and they have three children. DeSantis is a Roman Catholic, and the marriage was officiated by a Catholic priest. He is far from wealthy with a reported net worth of $318,987 as of 2021.
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