Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Starts his Israel Visit with ‘Solid’ Support

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis giving a speech on Jan. 15, 2019, at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, calling for increased Jewish day school security funding, in addition to touting pro-Israel initiatives. Photo: Gov. Ron DeSantis Press Office.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is polishing his pro-Israel bonafides, making a whirlwind visit to Israel where he is set to meet Prime Minister Netanyahu after his appearance at a Jerusalem conference.

Addressing the “Celebrate the Faces of Israel conference” being held at the Museum of Tolerance in conjunction with The Jerusalem Post, DeSantis warned what would happen if Israel did not have full control over the country’s capital.

“With Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, people have the ability to practice their religion freely, which would not be the case if the city was in other hands,” DeSantis said. “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people.”

“When Israel is held to a different standard than any other country in the world, that is antisemitism,” he said about the hatred of Jews that’s rising at an alarming rate. “We treat antisemitism the way we treat racism.”

Also referring to the U.S. and Israel’s shared interests and shared enemies, the governor concluded that ‘there is no greater adversary than the Islamist regime in Iran.”

Making reference to the judicial reform process, which has drawn comment from U.S. President Joe Biden, the governor said, “the U.S. must respect Israel’s right to make its own decisions about its own governance.”

The 44-year-old governor is considered a rising star in the Republican party and seen as a potential presidential candidate in the 2024 elections.

Marc Zell, co-chair of Republicans Overseas Israel told i24NEWS that DeSantis would be a strong contender for the GOP nomination, and when it comes to his support for Israel “his credentials are unimpeachable.”

“Ron DeSantis is one of the closest friends that Israel has in the Republican party,” Zell said, blaming current differences between the countries on the Biden administration.

The governor is making an international trip, with stops in Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and Israel.

There governor is scheduled to meet Netanyahu, with the prime minister telling CBS News earlier this week that he meets with U.S. representatives of all parties.

“I think it’s my job, and I think it’s important for Israel’s bipartisan support in the United States,” Netanyahu said on “Face the Nation.” The Israeli prime minister has refused to chime in on U.S. presidential races in the past.