On Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, the Board of County Commissioners met to discuss and decide on a variety of pressing issues. At the nearly seven-hour forum, the board passed multiple resolutions, including one proclaiming Hernando County as being supportive of Israel through acts of terrorism and war and another proclaiming Nov. 11 through Nov. 16, 2023, as National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. The resolution concerning the nation of Israel passed unanimously among the council members and was adopted on Tuesday. Before the reading and subsequent passing of the resolution, Hernando County resident Mark Benson voiced his displeasure with the board taking an official stance on the matter. Some board members took the moment to voice their support of Israel and the proclamation before the reading as well.
“I do appreciate the right for anybody to have an opinion and I have a right to disagree with it, and I disagree with Mr. Benson on this issue,” Commissioner Jerry Cambell said. “You can read the resolution; it’s online… Listen to each word of this resolution and tell me how any compassionate individual can disagree with any part of that. I unequivocally and unapologetically support Israel and their right to defend themselves against terrorists.”
The proclamation affirmed that Hernando County supports Israel’s right to not only exist but flourish as a nation that serves as a “melting pot” of peoples of Jewish faith, Jewish descent, and others in the Middle East. It also condemned the unprovoked terrorist attacks carried out on Oct. 7 by members of Hamas on Israeli civilians and the breaching of the country’s border security. The attacks that were carried out by “ground, by boat, and via air by paragliders” resulted in the killing, torturing, and burning of Israeli citizens, among other atrocities. The commissioners and resolution were staunchly in opposition to these acts as they supported the nation’s right to defend its sovereignty, citizens, and resources from those who would seek to take them from Israel.
By way of this resolution, the Board of County Commissioners proclaimed:
“Unwavering support” for the nation of Israel and its citizens that are in Hernando County
Hernando County joined many others across the United States in “declaring there is no place for terroristic violence” and denounced the heinous acts committed by Hamas.
“If you read this resolution, it has nothing to do with supporting Israel in war,” Commissioner Brian Hawkins said. “It has to do with us supporting our allies that they bled for during [Sept. 11] and the things that we’ve done over there. I was on the ground, sir. Israeli troops were allies of ours and were in our units. We need to protect that, we need to stand up for it, and we need to say that they have the right to protect themselves.”
The proclamation concerning hunger and homelessness also passed unanimously directly after.