Israeli Consulate General in Miami claims DeSantis lied about sending weapons, ammo to Israel, shipment was previously scheduled

Oct 27, 2023 | Political News

The Israeli Consulate General in Miami has countered a statement from DeSantis saying the state of Florida is sending weapons and ammo to Israel as they continue their fight against Hamas terrorists.

In a statement to Reuters, Maor Elbaz-Starinsky said his office had not worked with the governor to send weapons or ammunition to Israel through private parties, but had instead been in contact with the governor’s office regarding a plane carrying rifle parts.

“This is not how I would describe it,” he said of the statement released by the governor's office on Thursday.

The statement from DeSantis press secretary Jeremy Redfern, issued to Reuters, said, “At the request of the Israeli Consul General in Miami, cargo planes contracted by Florida were used to transport healthcare and hospital supplies, drones, body armor, and helmets that first responders can use.”

“We also worked with the Consul General to help get weapons and ammunition to Israel through private parties,” Redfern added.

According to Reuters, “Elbaz-Starinsky said DeSantis' office had contacted various Israeli government institutions, and that DeSantis had facilitated a shipment of medical supplies, which had been requested by the Israeli health ministry.”

Elbaz-Starinsky said that earlier in the month he had contacted various members of Congress and DeSantis’ office who were “stakeholders” in a flight that included some “rifle inserts” ordered by Israeli authorities and was scheduled to fly out of Miami. He was unsure if the governor’s office had any influence on the flight’s departure.

“I am not aware and would find it very, very bizarre to think that somebody is procuring weapons and sending it to Israel,” Elbaz-Starinsky said. “This is not how we work. And certainly not privately funded.”

Redfern was asked to clarify by Reuters, and said DeSantis’ office “was contacted by the Consul General's office for assistance to clear federal bureaucratic hurdles associated with getting those items to Israel.”

On Thursday, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said, “There are laws and regulations which govern how the export process is handled. And that's all done through (the Commerce Department.) I couldn't speak with authority today about whether the governor has checked all those boxes or not.”