The following article, Republican Governor Helps Get 270 Americans Airlifted Out of Israel, was first published on Flag And Cross.
After signing an executive order last week requiring his state’s Division of Emergency Management to assist Florida residents in Israel to return home, Gov. Ron DeSantis was on hand to welcome 270 of them home Sunday evening.
The 2024 presidential hopeful was at Tampa International Airport with his wife and three children when the plane carrying 270 evacuees, 91 of them children, landing Sunday.
“I am proud of how quickly we have been able to activate resources and do what the federal government could not — get Floridians and other Americans back home, reunited with their families, free of charge,” DeSantis said in a statement cited by National Review.
LEADERSHIP: 270 Americans — including 91 children — were brought home from Israel last night in rescue operations organized by the DeSantis Administration.
Listen to the stories of those rescued: pic.twitter.com/wCNvO6Jx6A
— DeSantis War Room (@DeSantisWarRoom) October 16, 2023
Hundreds of commercial flights out of Israel have been canceled since the deadly terrorist attacks of Oct. 7 by Hamas. The federal government has been slow to respond to the need to evacuate Americans, with the first flight — to Greece, not to the U.S. — only taking off Friday.
“Senior State Department officials are actively working with airline carriers and international partners on how best to provide additional options to U.S. citizens seeking to depart Israel or conduct onward travel to the United States,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Thursday.
Miller promised additional chartered flights would be forthcoming, but U.S. Embassy officials in Israel warned Americans that “it will take some period of time” to get everyone scheduled to leave the country who wishes to go.
“You will not be able to choose your destination,” the embassy told Americans waiting in Israel. “We will assign you to the next available flight or ship.”
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Thursday could only promise that the federal government would look into extracting U.S. citizens from Israel “by land and by sea,” National Review noted.
Moreover, federal law requires that evacuees agree — in writing — to repay the government for their flights, whereas DeSantis partnered with Project Dynamo, a veteran-led non-profit, to provide evacuation free of charge.
And federally chartered flights don’t allow pets, meaning that evacuees would be forced to leave their animals behind in a war-torn nation. Four dogs landed in Tampa on Sunday night’s flight.
It is unknown how many Americans remain in Israel, or what percentage of those wish to return home. DeSantis estimated the number to be “more than 20,000” in the executive order he signed last week.
Another Floridian, Rep. Cory Mills was on the ground in Israel on Wednesday, facilitating the escape of 32 Americans.
Before entering politics, the first-term Florida Republican was a military man who served in the Army’s 82nd Airborne, where he earned a Bronze Star and was wounded by both an IED and an Iranian-made explosive, according to his congressional biography.
And with Saturday’s terrorist attack in Israel bringing war to the country, and potentially the Middle East, Mills was back at it.
Mills said he was “helping and showing solidarity with our Israeli brethren and helping Americans evacuate.”
He said there were hundreds more Americans waiting to come home.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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