Israel support and combating domestic antisemitism on the agenda in Florida special session

Florida lawmakers gaveled in Monday for a special session and the War in Israel is top of mind.


Of the five bills moving, three are focused on responding to the war and antisemitic threats here at home.

[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]

As lawmakers gaveled in, they were reminded of the importance of these issues, hearing directly from a Holocaust survivor.

David Shaechter addressed the full House, reminding members it was silence from those in positions of power that helped pave the way for the killing of six million Jews.

“Today we cannot and will not remain silent. We cannot standby in the face of the tragic massacre of October 7th,” Shaechter said.

Shaechter also addressed a committee in the Senate.

Related Story: Florida lawmakers pass measure to sanction Iran to show support for Israel

“Antisemitism is rampant across our America right now,” Shaechter said.

He spoke on a bill lawmakers are pushing that would commit $35 million to help pay for bolstered security at Florida’s Jewish day schools and synagogues.

“Since the October 7th massacre, antisemitic acts of intimidation and violence in the United States have escalated over 400 percent,” bill sponsor State Senator Alexis Calatayud (R-Miami) said.

Lawmakers’ efforts go beyond domestic considerations, with a resolution expressing support for Israel and calling for the defunding of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran also on the agenda.

Additionally, a bill that would expand the types of industry investments that could land a company on the Iran Terrorism List and make them ineligible for state investment was advanced Monday.

Related Story: Florida lawmakers tackling property insurance, disaster relief and school choice in special session

“To ensure that our taxpayer dollars and not being used to upend peace in the Middle East,” bill sponsor State Representative John Snyder (R-Palm City) said.

Seventy-five companies are already on the list for investing in Iranian petroleum.

When asked how many other businesses would be impacted by the proposed expansion, Snyder wasn’t able to say definitively.

“If in one particular sector we’ve been able to glean dozens of companies that have been able to qualify for that list, my guess is that if we expand the list, I think we’ll be surprised by what we see,” Snyder said.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Snyder explained that should his bill pass, lawmakers would have a clear answer to the question on January 10th, when an updated list would be require to be released by the State Board of Administration.

Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.