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DeSantis to Jewish students: Come to college in Florida


(The Center Square) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, over the course of his governorship, has invited many people to move to Florida and flee from what he claims is oppression in Democratic-led cities and states.

After Democratic-led cities and states adopted anti-police policies, he and the Florida legislature created a grant program to encourage police officers to relocate to Florida. As of last month, nearly 5,000 new recruits have signed up, including 1,267 from 49 states and U.S. territories, according to the governor’s office.

As Jewish students continue to be attacked on campuses from California to New York, no violence or takeovers have occurred at the “encampment-free University of Florida,” where he gave remarks on Wednesday. The university held 21 commencements over the last six days without any incident.

But well before pro-Hamas rioters took over campuses nationwide, DeSantis in January directed Florida universities and colleges to make it easier for Jewish college students to transfer to Florida.

After Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on Oct. 7, antisemitism and violence escalated against Jews in America by nearly 400%, The Center Square reported. Since then, violence increased on college campuses with leaders failing to stop it, another report found.

Hamas, the acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya (Islamic Resistance Movement), was designated by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997.

On Jan. 9, DeSantis issued an emergency order for the State University System of Florida and the Florida College System directing them to waive certain transfer application requirements that would otherwise hinder Jewish students from transferring from their colleges or universities to one in Florida.

Last October, DeSantis issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Florida and took action to rescue Americans stranded in Israel. Within a few weeks, Florida had rescued more than 700 Americans, The Center Square reported.

The Florida legislature also passed several bills to enhance penalties for those who commit hate crimes against Jews. They did so after DeSantis signed the first antisemitism bill of his administration into law in Jerusalem in May 2019. Last October, the legislature called a special session to pass additional sanctions on Iran and Florida universities took actions to de-activate Palestinian groups supporting Hamas on all campuses. Attorney General Ashley Moody also urged university police departments to protect Jewish students from hate crimes.

“With leaders of so-called elite universities enabling antisemitic activities, rather than protecting their students from threats and harassment, it is understandable that many Jewish students are looking for alternatives and looking to Florida,” DeSantis said when announcing the new transfer waivers. “Throughout my tenure as Governor, we have implemented measures to safeguard our Jewish communities from hatred in the K–20 school system, and … we want to again make it clear that Jewish students are welcome to live and learn in Florida where they will be respected and not persecuted due to their faith.”

State University System Chancellor Ray Rodrigues and Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr., implemented waivers for first- and second-year postsecondary Jewish students “who have a well-founded fear of antisemitic persecution” where they were enrolled. The waiver clears credit hours and application window requirements to allow academically eligible students to transfer to a higher education institution in Florida.

DeSantis also urged colleges and universities to grant out-of-state tuition waivers on a case-by-case basis for Jewish students who may have a financial hardship when transferring from another state to a Florida.

DeSantis also called on the Biden administration “to follow our existing laws by cancelling the visas and immediately removing foreign nationals who support Hamas. Any foreign national marching on our streets calling for ‘intifada’ or celebrating the slaughter of Israeli babies needs to go.”

Instead, the president expanded measures to prevent “certain Palestinians” from being deported and rejected the call to rescind visas, The Center Square reported.

Governor DeSantis Makes Remarks at the Encampment-Free University of Florida— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 8, 2024