Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed agreements Tuesday with Israeli officials to work on issues like space technology, agriculture, protecting water and cybersecurity.
The deals were part of a full schedule Tuesday, the third day of the US politician’s trade mission to Israel. His delegation also toured the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.
Florida emergency management director Jared Moskowitz toured the Gaza border region and the emergency management center there. He praised an Israeli program that sends messages to residents’ cell phones during emergency events and said Florida could learn from the technology.
Moskowitz signed an agreement with Israeli officials which will lay groundwork to have Israeli emergency officials help Florida if the state has a major disaster.
DeSantis came to Israel Saturday with a delegation of close to 100 people, a trip that will include a ceremonial meeting with the independently elected Florida Cabinet, comprised of Attorney General Ashley Moody, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
Fried joined DeSantis’ delegation after completing her own trade mission.
On Wednesday, she will join DeSantis and the other two Cabinet members for a meeting at the US embassy in Jerusalem. The meeting had raised questions about whether it was violating Florida’s open government laws because the public has a right to attend Cabinet meetings.
DeSantis and the Cabinet, however, don’t plan to conduct state business at the meeting, but rather sign proclamations declaring their support for Israel.
Reporters covering the governor’s trip were told they will not be allowed to bring laptops or cell phones into the meeting because of security issues. It will be broadcast on The Florida Channel, a state-funded news service that covers state government.
“My understanding is it’s gone back to being ceremonial in nature,” Fried said of the meeting. “A discussion on the Florida/Israeli relationship and I believe proclamations that are being presented. I believe that is it.”
But she added that she hasn’t had any briefings from the governor’s office about the meeting agenda.
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