Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation that adds funding for Jewish causes and supports Hatzalah emergency-service workers, June 17, 2021. Photo courtesy of Twitter/Hatzalah of South Florida

In a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition political conference in Las Vegas on Saturday night, Nov. 19, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis—one of the front-runners for the 2024 presidential race—defended the right of Jews to live in their biblical homeland of Judea and Samaria.

“I don’t care what the State Department said. They are not occupied territory; it is disputed territory,” said DeSantis. “If you look at our record on issues related to Israel and supporting the Jewish community, it is second to none,” he continued.

DeSantis said that in winning re-election in the recent U.S. midterm vote, he had received the largest proportion of Jewish votes of any Republican candidate in Florida history.

“When I first became governor, one of the first things we did was fight back against Airbnb, who was discriminating against Israeli Jews, and we won that fight against Airbnb,” he added. He also said that under his direction, security was boosted at Jewish schools.

“We signed legislation combatting anti-Semitism. We are not going to allow the universities in the State of Florida to become hotbeds of anti-Jewish sentiment like they have all across this country,” DeSantis said.