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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Israeli consul general speaks at Reitz Union

Ofer Bavly, an Israeli consul general who works in Miami, spoke at the Reitz Union for Hispanic Heritage Month on Wednesday night.

Bavly was invited by Gators for Israel and the Hispanic Student Association.

Hillel did not pay him to speak, but they did pay for a University Police officer and two detectives to secure the event.

Bavly told the audience of about 25 that the only bi-partisan issue in Florida is support for Israel.

In Jan. 2009, when Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, a response to rockets attacks carried out by Hamas from Gaza, Florida was the only state that had every federal representative and both senators and the governor sign statements of support, Bavly said.

Bavly talked about the relationship between Israelis and Hispanics. He said Venezuela's and Cuba's relationships with Iran hurts Israel.

Bavly said Jewish mothers and Hispanic mothers were similar because "they both feed you until you're 50, and they treat you like you're a baby until 70."

At the event, he also spoke about radical Muslims.

"I do not see radical, violent Christians," he said in an interview. "I do not see radical, violent Jews. I do see radical, violent Muslims." However, Bavly asserted that Islam is not the enemy, rather "radicalism is the enemy."

He said that consuls from other countries wake up and have to decide between golf and tennis, but an Israeli consul has a lot more work to do.

"Modern diplomacy is about improving a country's image and political standing in the national arena: through economy, through culture, through innovation," he said.

Editor's note: The original headline was changed for clarity.

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