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Newsbreak: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Visit to Jerusalem Highlights Competing Narratives Over Israel and Competing for GOP Votes

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will give a speech in Jerusalem on April 27, marking his second visit to Israel during his tenure as governor. His upcoming visit comes at a time of heightened tension between the United States and Israel, as President Biden has expressed concern over the country’s planned judicial reforms and increasing unrest. DeSantis has positioned himself as a bridge between the American and Israeli people, reaffirming Florida’s unwavering support for the Jewish state, as reported by Reuters on March 29, 2023.


DeSantis’ trip to Israel is likely to highlight the intense battle for Jewish and evangelical voters in the GOP primary, with both DeSantis and former President Donald Trump staking out competing narratives over the decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. DeSantis claims credit for forcing Trump’s hand in the matter, but Trump has taken credit for the move in his recent speeches.


The governor’s international appearance will be preceded by an active travel schedule, including visits to several states before the expected launch of a presidential campaign in May or June. However, according to a report by CNN on March 28, 2023, DeSantis has recently struggled to articulate his views on the war in Ukraine, first calling it a territorial dispute and later calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal.


While DeSantis’ statement did not address the recent protests in Israel following the dismissal of the defense minister, his visit could coincide with renewed debate over Netanyahu’s plans. DeSantis has repeatedly sided with Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians, suggesting that the latter is not interested in peace.

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