Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is planning to visit Israel next month to discuss relations between the United States and Israel, The Jerusalem Post and the Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem announced Tuesday.
DeSantis is expected to deliver the keynote address at the “Faces of Israel” event on April 27 in front of about 400 attendees, where he will be visiting with other members of a Florida and Asia delegation, The Jerusalem Post reported. Other speakers at the event include U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides and David Friedman, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel.
DeSantis has traveled to Israel before, as he led a trade delegation to the country in 2019. He has previously said that he promised to be the the “most pro-Israel Governor in America” and has touted Florida’s strong relationship with the country.
“A few months after my inauguration for my first term as Governor of Florida, I traveled to Israel for a state visit with the largest ever trade delegation from the Sunshine State to the Jewish State,” DeSantis said in a statement, The Jerusalem Post reported.
“Since that time, we have strengthened the relationship between Florida and Israel through increased investment by Israeli companies in our state, fighting the scourge of BDS, and being home to the fastest growing Jewish population in the United States,” he continued. “At a time of unnecessarily strained relations between Jerusalem and Washington, Florida serves as a bridge between the American and Israeli people.”
Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement that began in 2005 when Palestinian civil society organizations called for boycotts, divestment and sanctions as a form of nonviolent protest against Israeli authority over Palestine.
His visit comes as tensions in Israel are high amid proposed judicial reforms, which would allow the government to overrule Supreme Court decisions and give the executive more power to appoint justices. This proposal, backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, sparked protests across the country, as U.S. officials have voiced their concerns about the ongoing situation in Israel.
Netanyahu fired Israel’s defense minister over the weekend, which also led to more outcry from protesters in the streets.