Desantis Makes Pro-Israel Pitch to Republican Jewish Coalition

By Hamodia Staff

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

YERUSHALAYIM — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continued his undeclared bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination by stressing his pro-Israel credentials at a Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Las Vegas over the weekend.

Desantis, who after his landslide reelection is widely regarded as the main contender to former President Donald Trump, told the gathering that “I don’t care what the State Department says. They [Yehuda and Shomron] are not occupied territory, it is disputed territory. You gotta know the history,” DeSantis said to applause.

The governor told the crowd about a trade mission he’d led to Israel, “the biggest trade mission Florida’s ever done.”

“We were the first statewide elected officials to do public events in Judea and Samaria,” DeSantis said, using the biblical names favored by right-wing Israelis. “We understand history. We know those are thousands of years of connection to the Jewish people.”

In his starring 25-minute speech, he touted his past support for recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, moving the U.S. embassy to Yerushalayim (both achieved under the Trump administration) and opposition to the “Biden-Khamenei nuclear deal.”

Other candidates also made appearances at the convention, including former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, both with strong pro-Israel records, and several other governors.

Trump himself, although the only one so far to officially declare his candidacy, appeared at the conference via video and was relegated to a less prominent slot among the list of speakers, a likely indication of his diminished standing after several key candidates endorsed by him lost in the midterms.

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