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Florida’s DeSantis to GOP Jews: ‘Judea and Samaria just isn’t occupied, however disputed’ – The Instances of Israel

Addressing Jewish Republicans on Saturday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stated the West Financial institution was “not occupied territory” however moderately a disputed space that could be a historic homeland to Jews, as he talked up his Israel bona fides amid mounting challenges to Donald Trump’s management of the celebration.

DeSantis was a star attraction at this weekend’s Republican Jewish Coalition convention in Las Vegas, the place he delivered a 25-minute speech on Saturday night time whereas Trump was relegated to a much less fascinating timeslot and solely appeared by way of video.

The favored Florida governor informed the gang a couple of commerce mission he’d led to Israel, “the most important commerce mission Florida’s ever finished.”

“We have been the primary statewide elected officers to do public occasions in Judea and Samaria,” DeSantis stated, utilizing the biblical names for the West Financial institution as favored by right-wing Israelis. “We perceive historical past. We all know these are hundreds of years of connection to the Jewish folks.”

“I don’t care what the State Division says. They aren’t occupied territory, it’s disputed territory. You gotta know the historical past,” DeSantis stated to applause.

DeSantis is seen as one of the leading challengers to Trump, aiming to take the reins of the celebration and make a run for the White Home in 2024. Different high candidates additionally made appearances on the conference, together with former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley and several other different state governors. RJC conferences are sometimes the primary cease for seemingly GOP contenders forward of presidential election years.

Trump is the one candidate who has introduced a 2024 candidacy to this point. He launched his marketing campaign regardless of the celebration’s poor displaying within the midterms this month, with notably unhealthy outcomes for his favored candidates, and amid a number of authorized threats, together with over his position within the January 6, 2021, assault on the US Capitol.

Former US president Donald Trump speaks just about on the Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Management Assembly in Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 19, 2022. (Wade Vandervort/AFP)

DeSantis highlighted his strikes in assist of the Jewish group and hit different Republican speaking factors throughout his Sunday speech. He had bucked the final development within the midterms, successful an awesome victory in Florida and strengthening his place within the nationwide scene.

“We gained the very best share of the Jewish vote for any Republican candidate in Florida historical past,” he stated. “There’s quite a lot of causes for that. It’s not simply Jewish points when you have a look at every part we’ve finished, however I’ll say when you have a look at our report on points associated to Israel and supporting the Jewish group it’s second to none.”

He spoke of his monetary assist for safety at Florida Jewish day faculties, of enacting requirements for Holocaust training and signing laws towards antisemitism.

DeSantis vowed to forestall campuses in Florida from turning into “hotbeds of antisemitism like they’ve all throughout the nation.”

On Israel, he talked up his previous assist for recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, transferring the US embassy to Jerusalem (each finished beneath the Trump administration) and opposition to the “Biden-Khamenei nuclear deal.”

He hit hot-button Republican celebration points, together with his opposition to educating essential race principle and the “Defund the police” motion, and his banning of “gender ideology in our elementary faculties.” He defended Florida’s election integrity whereas disparaging and casting doubt on Democratic Get together election ways, and celebrated preserving the state largely open through the peak of the pandemic.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks to visitors on the Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Management Assembly on November 19, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Scott Olson/Getty Photographs/AFP)

“We selected freedom over Fauci-ism and we’re higher off for having finished that,” he stated. “We reject woke ideology within the state of Florida and we’ll struggle it within the lecture rooms, we’ll struggle it within the companies, we’ll struggle it within the halls of the legislature.”

He stated his victory within the midterms made clear that his strategy was profitable. He didn’t straight point out Trump, a resident of his state, or the presidential election through the speech.

Trump’s lies concerning the legitimacy of the 2020 election, and his insistence that his endorsees echo the lies, are seen as a drag on the GOP. Republicans at the moment are brazenly criticizing him after the November 8 midterms, wherein they anticipated to win the US Home of Representatives by a broad margin and retake the Senate however fell flat. Republicans barely retook the Home, and the Senate stays in Democratic fingers.

Trump, speaking to the conference by way of video the night time earlier than, blasted the Biden administration, repeated his false declare that the 2020 election had been “rigged,” and claimed that if he had been reelected Israel would have brokered peace agreements with Saudi Arabia and different Arab nations.

Trump didn’t tackle his potential rivals in his look, however has already begun his customary bomb-throwing about would-be presidential rivals, dubbing DeSantis “Ron DeSanctimonious” and saying Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s identify “sounds Chinese language.”

Israel’s presumptive incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the coalition conference on Saturday by video, highlighting his lengthy friendship with Biden and saying his disagreements with Democratic celebration lawmakers have been “all within the household.”

JTA contributed to this report.

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I joined The Instances of Israel after a few years protecting US and Israeli politics for Hebrew information shops.

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