Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to make Israel his first official international trip


(JTA) — Ron DeSantis will visit Israel in his first foreign trip as Florida governor.

DeSantis also announced Tuesday that he will hold a state Cabinet meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, whose move from Tel Aviv he supported enthusiastically during his gubernatorial campaign, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

DeSantis, who ran for governor touting his pro-Israel credentials, said the May 25-31 trip will “strengthen the ties between Florida and the state of Israel,” the newspaper reported. The delegation will include politicians from both parties along with business, academic and religious leaders.

He announced the trip this week during a visit to Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El in Plantation, in the southern part of the state.

The governor has visited Israel and its historic sites. He brought home water from the Sea of Galilee to baptize his children.

DeSantis said he would work with whoever forms the new government in Israel.

In late January, DeSantis and his Cabinet voted to put Airbnb on Florida’s list of scrutinized companies over its decision in November to remove listings of rooms and homes for rent in West Bank Jewish settlements. Airbnb abandoned the plan earlier this week, prompting a response from the governor on Twitter.

“I am encouraged to hear that @Airbnb will not move forward with its policy that would eliminate the listings of Israeli properties,” he tweeted. “Florida will never support companies that discriminate against Israel.”

He had ordered state employees not to stay at Airbnb homes while traveling on state business.

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