Israel

Drones, Drips And Dems: Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried Takes Her Own Path In Israel

May 28, 2019
Jeffrey Schweers / Pool / Florida Society of News Editors

TEL AVIV – Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried – the state’s highest ranked Democrat and first Jewish woman on the Cabinet – arrived in Israel several days ahead of Gov. Ron DeSantis and his entourage of nearly 100 legislators, lobbyists, business people and academics.

She wanted to conduct her own fact-finding mission to see what she could learn that could benefit Florida farmers. She said Israel is basically situated in a desert but has been able to create “survivorship” by emphasizing agricultural technology.

Screenshot / The Florida Channel

During the start of his weeklong trade trip to Israel, Gov. Ron DeSantis said South Florida has one thing in common with Tel Aviv.

“Tel Aviv is worse than Miami traffic,” he told reporters Monday.

The itinerary is set for Governor Ron DeSantis’s trip to Israel. He will be meeting with Israeli business leaders, and he’ll take a cultural visit to the Old City of Jerusalem.

LYNNE SLADKY / AP/MIAMI HERALD

Governor Ron DeSantis leaves for Israel this weekend with a delegation of at least a hundred different lawmakers, lobbyists and business leaders.

DeSantis' trip will include a visit with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a Florida cabinet meeting next Wednesday. But many of the details regarding the trip remain unclear, including the itinerary and whether the cabinet meeting will be streamed for the public.

Questions Raised Over Florida Cabinet Meeting In Israel

May 22, 2019

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is going to Israel with a large contingent of business leaders — not surprisingly, especially as the GOP woos Jewish voters ahead of the 2020 presidential election. But DeSantis' plan to hold a meeting with his elected Cabinet while he's there has raised concerns about whether officials are violating the state's open-meeting laws. 

Golasso / Creative Commons

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently announced that he will be heading a trade mission to Israel in May. He will be joined by Florida's Cabinet -- Attorney General Ashley Moody, Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. An official meeting of the Florida Cabinet will take place at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem during the visit.

The Israeli military said Monday that it had lifted restrictions allowing residents in southern Israel to resume daily activity after two days of intense and deadly fighting. To many, the move is an indication that a cease-fire between Israel and militant groups has been brokered — even if peace only holds temporarily.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, said that Egyptian mediators brokered the deal, The Associated Press reports. The militant group Islamic Jihad said a "mutual and concurrent" truce with Israel had been reached.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered "massive strikes" against militant groups in Gaza on Sunday in response to a barrage of rocket fire, stretching hostilities into a third day and leading to mounting casualties on both sides.

At a cabinet meeting on Sunday Netanyahu said he also instructed military leaders to boost tank artillery and infantry forces around the Gaza Strip.

"Hamas bears responsibility not only for its own attacks and actions but also those by Islamic Jihad, for which it pays a very high price," he said.

PBS

The Florida Cabinet is planning to hold its next meeting in Israel next month.

 

Gov. Ron DeSantis said the trip’s main purpose is to promote investment in the state.

Airbnb will allow listings in the occupied West Bank — again.

On Tuesday, the property rental company reversed a previous decision to remove about 200 listings in Israeli settlements in the area.

Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be on his way to a fourth consecutive term, and his main challenger has conceded defeat.

The election was neck and neck between his right-wing party and that of his top contender, centrist political newcomer Benny Gantz. But with at least 97 percent of the votes counted, Netanyahu appears to be in the best position to form a government because of the strength of other right-wing, nationalist and religious parties.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

One of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign pledges was to make Israel the first foreign country he visits in office. DeSantis came to South Florida on Tuesday to announce he’s keeping that promise – and that he’ll do more than just visit Israel.

The U.S. officially shut down its Jerusalem Consulate General on Monday, severing a connection that for decades served as a direct link between Palestinians and Washington. The consulate's work is being folded into the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem — a move Palestinian officials have condemned.

The long-running consulate is being replaced by a Palestinian Affairs Unit that will operate in the same historic complex on Gerson Agron Street, several miles north of the embassy that opened last year to fanfare and controversy.

After months of anticipation, Israel's attorney general has told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he is preparing to indict him on corruption charges.

It's a major blow to the long-serving premier and Trump ally, though not a final decision on an indictment. Netanyahu will still have a chance to hold off any indictment during a court hearing. And in the meantime, he remains in office and seeks reelection in April.

Sam Turken / WLRN

Gov. Ron DeSantis threatened on Tuesday to sanction Airbnb over what he called the home-sharing platform's anti-Semitic move to cease its operations along Israel's West Bank. The company has removed more than 200 listings in Israeli settlements in recent months, due to the dispute the homes have fueled with Palestinians.

Flanked by South Florida Jewish community leaders at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County in Boca Raton, DeSantis said Airbnb's decision violates a state law that prohibits Florida from working with companies that boycott Israel.

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