The Florida governor’s order directs the Florida Division of Emergency Management to charter flights for stranded Florida residents and deliver supplies to Israel, Alecia Collins, a spokesperson for the agency, said. The governor estimates that 20,000 U.S. citizens, including Floridians, remain in Israel.
“This Executive Order will allow the State to carry out logistical, rescue and evacuation operations,” Collins said.
The FAA has recommended caution for pilots flying into and out of Israel but issued no restrictions.
DeSantis’ administration asserts that Americans stranded in Israel have reached out to the Florida governor’s office for help after they failed to receive a response from the U.S. Embassy in Israel. The governor’s executive order also criticizes the Biden administration for failing to make rescue plans, echoing rebukes from DeSantis that the White House has not done enough to help Americans.
“We will not leave our residents behind,” DeSantis said in a social media post.
DeSantis spokesperson Jeremy Redfern wrote in an email that the governor’s office received messages from 35 stranded travelers.
The DeSantis administration was also critical of the U.S. Embassy in Israel and a notification program for overseas travelers, also overseen by the U.S. Department of State, saying the agency has been unreachable for stranded Americans.
The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
DeSantis’ support for Israel goes back to his days in Congress. Since becoming governor, DeSantis has also regularly supported increased security funding in the state budget for Jewish day schools. He even led a trade mission to Israel during his first term as governor in 2019.