Florida wraps up special session to support Israel as DeSantis campaigns for president

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Legislature wrapped up a special session Wednesday in a largely symbolic effort to support Israel in its war with Hamas while Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis runs for president.

The Senate unanimously approved a resolution condemning Hamas for the Oct. 7 attacks on Israeli citizens and expressing support for Israel's right to defend itself. Also approved with no opposition were bills to provide $45 million in grants to secure Jewish institutions and other places that could be a target of hate crimes.

The Senate also voted to strengthen sanctions already in place against businesses that do business with Iranian companies, as well as measures to provide hurricane recovery money and expand a program to allow developmentally disabled students attend private school with taxpayer money.

DeSantis has campaigned on his support for Israel. The Legislature passed the measures hours before he was to participate in a GOP presidential debate in Miami, in which foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war are expected to be prominent. The Legislature's action could give DeSantis additional talking points.

The Legislature begins its annual session in two months, but DeSantis and Republican House and Senate leaders called for the special shortly after the Hamas attacks.