(The Center Square) — The Florida Legislature says it stands with Israel in the wake of the recent terror attacks carried out by Hamas.
Florida House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, said at a Wednesday news conference that he was proud to announce that Florida stands with Israel.
“Today the Senate President and I have signed a proclamation condemning the barbaric attack by Hamas and unequivocally supporting the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign nation and to defend itself in this moment,” Renner said.
Renner said Florida lawmakers know the Iranian regime funds Hamas and assists other terror groups. Renner also said that he and the Legislature support Gov. Ron DeSantis’ legislative proposal announced last week to sanction Iran.
“The relationship between Florida and Israel has never been stronger. In 2019 Florida participated in its biggest trade mission to Israel in our state’s history, which led to greater cultural, business, and academic ties,” Renner said.
The support for Israel among lawmakers was bipartisan.
“As a proud Jewish American, and one of only three Jewish members of the Florida Senate, I watched — as all humans did — the terror Hamas has unleashed on Israel with absolute devastation and horror,” Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, R-Davie, said. “And as we mourn these tremendous losses, we will not be silent.
“The Jewish nation and Israeli people will not be defeated by terrorists with hate in their hearts. Yesterday, today, and for all time, we stand with Israel. Am Yisrael chai. (The people of Israel live).”
Florida had $650 million in bilateral trade with Israel in 2022 and the U.S. ally is the 19th largest investor in the state.
Renner said during the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium building in Surfside in 2021, Israel sent elite search and rescue teams to help save Floridians.
“In the coming days, while support from other nations may recede, our support for Israel will never waiver. If you stand for freedom, if you stand for peace, you should stand with Israel and with Florida’s Jewish community today and in the future,” Renner said.
Renner noted that state lawmakers have demonstrated commitment to Israel and Florida’s Jewish community by enacting legislation to combat antisemitism around the state, including at state universities.
“We are with them till the end,” Renner said.
Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, said that she is proud to stand with Speaker Renner and their legislative colleagues to show support for Israel and to condemn the horrific attacks by Hamas.
“As a state government, under the leadership of Gov. DeSantis, we are doing everything within our authority to protect Floridians from the dangerous regimes that fund these terrorist operations,” Passidomo said.
Passidomo added that Florida has always had a special relationship with Israel and that Florida is no place for antisemitism.
“While we cherish the alliance between our governments, we also recognize the bonds of family and friendship that link so many Floridians to the Israeli people,” Passidomo said.