by Efrat Forsher
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signs Memorandum of Understanding between Florida State University and Ariel University, becoming the first sitting governor to establish a relationship between a U.S. state and an Israeli university in Judea and Samaria. De Santis tells audience: "I say here: BDS has no place in Florida."
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding between Florida State University and Ariel University on Monday, becoming the first sitting governor to establish a relationship between a U.S. state and an Israeli university in Judea and Samaria.
The majority of the international community considers Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria as illegal, and shuns, or even boycotts, Israeli institutions located there, such as Ariel University.
In appreciation, DeSantis received an Honorary Fellowship Award from the university. At the ceremony were philanthropists Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson, Ariel Mayor Eli Shaviro, and Ariel University President Yehuda Danon.
“I promised to be the most pro-Israel Governor in America and I sincerely thank Ariel University for presenting me the Honorary Fellowship Award,” DeSantis said at the event. “This recognition means a lot and I am humbled to be the recipient. Let it be known that Florida will always stand with Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East.”
Dr. Miriam Adelson introduced DeSantis as “a true friend of the State of Israel” who supported the Trump administration’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights, and “understands that we as Israelis have the right on our holy land.”
DeSantis told the audience: “We are now in the heart of the Holy Land of Israel. When you think about Israel’s history and the tradition that connects Israel and the U.S., it’s inspiring. On my last visit to Israel in 2014, the U.S. embassy was in Tel Aviv and we were on the verge of signing a destructive agreement with Iran, and I am happy that today we have achieved real progress. We have an American embassy in Jerusalem with an American acceptance of the sovereignty of the State of Israel on the Golan Heights and the agreement with Iran has been removed from the stage of history.
“I, personally, have fought Airbnb’s discriminatory policy against Jewish-owned properties in Judea and Samaria, and only recently have they changed their discriminatory policy. I say here: BDS has no place in Florida.
“The memorandum of understanding signed today between the University of Ariel and Florida State University is a blessed agreement that will bring these two institutions forward. I am happy to say that Florida is a very diverse state, but not when it comes to its unequivocal support for the State of Israel,” DeSantis added.
According to Ariel University President Yehuda Danon, “The signing of the memorandum of understanding with Florida State University is not only a symbolic event, but a milestone in establishing relations of friendship and closeness that will lead to the connection between two institutions for future cooperation and academic progress.”
During his four-day trade mission to help boost the state’s economy, DeSantis has also signed a memorandum of agreement between Space Florida and the Israel Space Agency. The agreement signed Monday includes projects the agencies will work on, including the launching of microsatellites. The Republican governor insists the Space Force should be headquartered in Florida.
DeSantis also signed agreements between Haifa University and Florida Atlantic University, Miami-Dade College, Florida A&M and the University of North Florida.
DeSantis’ delegation will continue to meet with Israeli business and academic leaders over the next few days. Some delegates will also take side trips focusing on issues in their fields.
The Adelson family owns the company that is the primary shareholder in Israel Hayom. Dr. Miriam Adelson is the publisher of Israel Hayom.
Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter