TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Tuesday his first international excursion on behalf of the state will begin May 25, as he makes a previously announced trip to Israel after the legislative session.

“I think it’s a really unprecedented effort to strengthen the ties between Florida and Israel,” DeSantis said while at Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El in Plantation.

The week-long trip is being organized by the state’s business-recruitment arm, Enterprise Florida, and will include an entourage of about 75 to 80 people from business, academic and emergency-management fields, DeSantis said.

“I want to have a strong relationship with the most vibrant economy in the Middle East Innovation surpasses Silicon Valley We want to look at innovation and help those efforts,” said DeSantis.

DeSantis will also be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Israel-American Business Summit, which is being held that week by the Federations of Israeli Chambers of Commerce and the U.S. Embassy, he said.

DeSantis said the two countries have “shared values” in addition to economic ties and military relationships. “You have a tiny little country in a troubled part of the world standing for freedom, for democratic principles, for entrepreneurship, for innovation,” DeSantis said.

“And really, the foundation of our civilization here in the United States, and really the entire West can be traced back to that plot of land.”

Even though Israel is in the midst of a close election, the governor said he can work with any government that’s formed.

“We have a large Israeli ex-pat population here,” said business and government affairs consultant Eytan Lior.

“The goal is to have job creation here to increase the success of our companies and that’s good for everyone,” he said.

Lior and more than seventy others will be on the Israeli trip.

In January, DeSantis led the state Cabinet in taking a first step toward imposing economic sanctions against the home-sharing platform Airbnb because of a company decision against listing properties in the West Bank, an area that is a major flashpoint in Israeli-Palestinian relations.

(©2019 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida’s contributed to this report.)

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