Ambassadors Herzog, Al Otaiba, meet Governor DeSantis in Florida

The two ambassadors traveled to the Sunshine State to participate in an event hosted by AJC, and met the local Governor for some 30 minutes

Florida Governor Ron Desantis speaks during a campaign rally by then US president Donald Trump at Pensacola International Airport in Pensacola, Florida, US, October 23, 2020. (photo credit: TOM BRENNER/REUTERS)
Florida Governor Ron Desantis speaks during a campaign rally by then US president Donald Trump at Pensacola International Airport in Pensacola, Florida, US, October 23, 2020.
(photo credit: TOM BRENNER/REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – Israel’s Ambassador to the US Mike Herzog met with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as part of his visit to the Sunshine State.

Herzog was invited together with UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba to participate in an event hosted by the American Jewish Committee in Boca.

The national AJC dinner, held to officially welcome incoming CEO Ted Deutch to the agency in his former home district, was attended by over 400 people.

Following the event, the two ambassadors met with DeSantis for some 30 minutes.

 Ambassador to the US Mike Herzog speaks at the Museum of the Bible. (credit: SHMULIK ALMANI) Ambassador to the US Mike Herzog speaks at the Museum of the Bible. (credit: SHMULIK ALMANI)

“I had a productive meeting with Governor Ron DeSantis, together with UAE Ambassador Al Otaiba,” Herzog tweeted. “We gave an overview of the Abraham Accords and the strategic significance and opportunities that they present to our region, the world, and to Florida.”

He said that the two ambassadors invited DeSantis to visit their respective countries in 2023.

“I also thanked the governor for his strong support for Israel and for the significant steps he has taken to combat antisemitism,” Herzog continued. “We look forward to continuing to work with him to deepen Israel-Florida relations and to connect Florida to the exciting new dynamic in the region,” the Israeli ambassador tweeted.

There is growing speculation that DeSantis, a Republican, is considering a 2024 presidential primary bid. Last month, he won his reelection campaign with a nearly 20% margin – 59.4% compared to 40% for the Democratic candidate Charlie Crist.

Later that month, he participated at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting in Las Vegas, where he said that the West Bank “is not occupied territory, it is disputed territory – I don’t care what the State Department says.”

He also stated that he was “the first statewide elected official to do public events in Judea and Samaria... because we understand history, we know those are thousands of years of connection to the Jewish people.”

DeSantis has always been a “big advocate” of the US embassy move from Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital of Jerusalem, he said. “You gotta know the history... which is why I was a big advocate as a congressman to move the embassy.

""They said it would spark World War III and they were wrong."

Ron DeSantis

“They said it would spark World War III and they were wrong.”

In 2019, DeSantis signed into law legislation that defined antisemitism as calls for violence against Jews, advancing conspiracy theories about Jewish control and Holocaust denial. It also includes “applying double standards” to Israel “by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

The bill also mandated that discrimination against Jewish people be treated like acts of racial discrimination in Florida’s public education institutions.