Nearly 300 Americans stranded in Israel are brought back to Florida.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis successfully brought nearly 300 Americans stranded in Israel back to Florida after announcing transportation arrangements within two days. The stranded individuals were welcomed at Tampa International Airport, where DeSantis expressed his satisfaction with the rescue efforts. He emphasized the lack of leadership in facilitating their return to the United States and highlighted Florida’s proactive role in addressing the situation.

The initiative to repatriate Americans stranded in Israel was a collaboration between Florida and Project Dynamo. The rescue operation involved bringing more than 270 individuals to Tampa and seven to Orlando. Governor DeSantis expressed his pride in activating resources quickly and for surpassing the federal government in getting Americans back home to reunite with their families, free of charge.

The Consul General of Israel to Florida, Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, expressed gratitude for Governor DeSantis and his administration’s overwhelming support. He acknowledged the devastating terror attack by Hamas, which resulted in over 1,400 casualties and 150 hostages. Elbaz-Starinsky affirmed Israel’s commitment to eradicating Hamas and upholding values of freedom, humanity, and the sanctity of life.

Project Dynamo’s CEO and founder, Bryan Stern, commended the dedicated team of volunteers who tirelessly work to ensure the well-being of Americans trapped in crisis situations worldwide. He expressed gratitude to Governor DeSantis for partnering with their mission to save every American in need.

According to reports, approximately 20,000 Americans, including many from Florida, were stranded in Israel due to flight cancellations and other travel-related disruptions caused by the ongoing conflict with Hamas.

While the U.S. State Department urged stranded Americans to book commercial flights, they acknowledged the unpredictable mortar and rocket fire that resulted in frequent flight cancellations. The State Department also advised Americans to arrange and pay for their own lodging. Transportation out of Israel provided by the federal government required Americans to sign a promissory note prior to departure.

In contrast, the Florida government extended free transportation to stranded Americans seeking to return home. Governor DeSantis issued an executive order criticizing the Biden administration for its failure to initiate rescue or evacuation operations for Americans, including Floridians. He also expressed frustration over the lack of information provided by the U.S. Embassy in Israel and the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

The executive order outlined response, recovery, and mitigation plans necessary to handle the emergency, including logistical, rescue, or evacuation operations. The Florida Division of Emergency Management, along with the Florida National Guard, Florida State Guard, and other state agencies, organized these operations. Funding for bringing Americans home was allocated through the Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund.

Florida boasts one of the largest Jewish populations globally and has the second-largest population of Israeli-American citizens in the United States, particularly in the Miami area.

Overall, Governor Ron DeSantis’ proactive initiative to bring stranded Americans back from Israel highlights Florida’s commitment to assisting its citizens and the strength of its partnership with organizations like Project Dynamo. The successful repatriation efforts have provided relief to 300 individuals and have garnered widespread appreciation from those affected.