US AMBASSADOR to Israel David Friedman speaks at the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem last year. Israel and America share common values and common interests, but the need for the US to be involved in the Middle East does not hinge on what is right or wrong for Israel; it is needed for America.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Florida’s state cabinet took the unusual step of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s “eternal and undivided capital.”
It issued a proclamation to on Tuesday in a move that places it one step ahead of the Trump Administration’s stance on Israel, which recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but has not spoken of whether it supports a united or divided Jerusalem.
In explaining the move, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said that state governor, Republican Ron DeSantis had supported Trump’s decision
to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, when he represented Florida in Congress last year.
“We have made it clear that we stand with our closest ally in the Middle East. I too believe in standing strong with our friend and partner and ally,” said Patronis, speaking at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting in the state capital of Tallahassee.
“As a state we must continue to demonstrate our broad and deep support of our ally and economic partner by implementing pro-Israel policies,” Patornis said. “Today we declare to the world that Florida stands united with Israel.”
Florida’s Agriculture commissioner Nicole Heather Fried said that as an Jewish-American politician, who has visited the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz, the resolution recognizing a united Jerusalem “was near and dear to my heart.”
Florida’s vote stands in stark contrast to the opinion of the United Nations and that of the international community at large, which has yet to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and believes that east Jerusalem should be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Deputy Consul General of Israel to Florida Guy Gilady told Florida politicians, “I speak for a grateful nation half a world away by expressing our deepest appreciation for your friendship. Your recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, speaks not just of truth, but is another shining example of how you are making Florida the most pro-Israel state in the US,” Gilady said.
“The state of Florida has long been a stalwart supporter of the Jewish nation. We see a much deeper sense of true friendship that defines the current Florida-Israel relationship,” he explained.
“Under your leadership we see a deep understanding regarding the values that our nations share, the values of hope democracy and freedom and free enterprise,” Gilady said.
Israel is “a beacon of hope in a very problematic neighborhood,” said Gilady adding that “we wave the flag representing our values, Israeli and American values, tall and proud.”
“Israel stands with America now and always
,” and “Israel has no better friend than America and America has no better friend than Israel,” he said.
“We are deeply humbled by your unparalleled support,” Gilady added.
Israel and Florida have a strong economic partnership. According to the Jewish Virtual Library (JVL), Florida is Israel’s 13th largest trade partner and one of 33 US states with cooperative economic agreements with Israel. Since 1996, Florida has exported more than $3.8 billion in goods to Israel and that number is growing.
In 2017, according to the JVL, Florida exported $282.2 million in goods to Israel, marking a 15.2% hike from the previous year.
There are 621,460 Jews who live in Florida, making up 3.2% of the state’s population in 2017, according to JVL.
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