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Thursday, April 18, 2024
<p>Consul General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico Chaim Shacham speaks about 60 UF student leaders at UF Hillel on Monday.</p>

Consul General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico Chaim Shacham speaks about 60 UF student leaders at UF Hillel on Monday.

Consul General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico, Chaim Shacham, spoke at UF Hillel on Monday about politics in what he called “one of the toughest neighborhoods in the world.”

“Personally, I wouldn’t have minded if Joseph had brought us to Canada,” he joked in front of a crowd of about 60 student leaders.

Attendees heard the consul general speak about the fallout from the Arab Spring revolutions and the dangers of a nuclear-capable Iran to both Israel and the U.S.

“There cannot be a more important time for campus leaders to understand the U.S.-Israel relationship and the threat Iran poses to both of our countries,” said Taylor Nichole Parker, a 20-year-old political science junior and vice president of Gators for Israel, the organization that brought the consul general.

Nominees for Florida’s third congressional district Ted Yoho and J.R. Gaillot also spoke to students about their political platforms.

Shacham told students how recently ousted Arab regimes have been replaced by radical Islamic leadership in the last year.

“A change in the Arab world isn’t like one more regime change,” he said. “It’s a historic tsunami, which sort of reorients the relationship of Western democracies with a good quarter of the world.”

Now, decisions in those countries are made on the basis of tribal allegiance instead of national security issues, Shacham said. As a result, civil rights, equal suffrage and rule of law have suffered.

“This a step 100 years back,” he said. “It’s a change of the purpose of a state in the Arab world.”

He also spoke about how a nuclear-capable Iran could obtain a hegemony over the Persian Gulf. Iranian leaders have expressed their intentions to attack Israel with nuclear weapons in the past.

Shacham said he wanted to reframe the news students read about Israel. Leah Robbins, a 19-year-old Jewish studies freshman who spent a year living in Israel, agreed.

“Israel is very misrepresented in the media,” she said. “Israel is not some imperialist country trying to get land. It’s in a constant state of defense.”

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Consul General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico Chaim Shacham speaks about 60 UF student leaders at UF Hillel on Monday.

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