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Scott reaffirms support of Israel; Jerusalem embassy

Lee Herald Favicon 16Governor Rick Scott reaffirmed his support for President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem during a visit to a Jewish day school in Naples on Wednesday.

Violence has erupted between Palestinians and Israeli defense forces along the border after Trump made the decision to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem. Scott described the move as a campaign promise kept by Trump, and something he personally wanted to see happen.

“I got to be there the day that President Trump announced that he would move the embassy, which was the right thing to do, something he promised in his campaign,” Scott said while at Chabad Naples Jewish Community Center. “I was there Monday, I was the only governor there from the United States to celebrate the opening of the embassy in Jerusalem.”

In this photo released by the Jerusalem Municipality, Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat poses with a new road sign to the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, Monday, May 7, 2018.
In this photo released by the Jerusalem Municipality, Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat poses with a new road sign to the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, Monday, May 7, 2018. (Jerusalem Municipality via AP)

A law passed by Congress in 1995 compelled the opening of an embassy in Jerusalem and its formal recognition as Israel’s capital. While Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush said at one time they supported the move, and both, along with Barack Obama, called Jerusalem the capital of Israel, all three exercised a power within the bill allowing them to put off the decision for six months. As did Trump in June 2017, before affirming the capital in December. Guatemala followed suit, opening their embassy on Wednesday.

The governor also emphasized his time meeting with Israeli leadership during the trip to the Middle East including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I had the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and talk about the importance of the relationship between Florida and Israel,” said Scott.

Florida is home to one of the largest Jewish populations in the country, and AICE reports that Florida is Israel’s 13 largest trading partner sending $300 million in exports in 2017.

Gov. Rick Scott walking through a school run by the Chabad Naples Jewish Community Center on Wednesday, May 16, 2018.(Photo: Justin Martin/Naples Herald)

In addition to highlighting the $2 million in the upcoming budget set aside to improve security at Jewish day schools in Florida, Scott also pointed out other pro-Israel accomplishments like the recently passed House Bill 545. The bill bars Florida government agencies from doing business with companies who boycott Israel as part of the BDS movement. BDS stands for Boycott Divest Sanctions, and is a movement aimed at ending international support for what it claims is the oppression of the Palestinian people.


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