The new Florida Stands with Israel specialty license plate was unveiled on Dec. 15, with Daniel Ackerman, a graphic designer from Boca Raton, submitting the winning design.
The public design contest was sponsored by the Israeli-American Council. Over 100 designs were submitted, ranging from school children’s concepts in crayon to highly technical designs of professional artists.
Ackerman explained his use of Florida’s state flower, the orange blossom. ”The beauty of this flower contrasted against the Star of David in the form of a tropical leaf, represents the Florida-Israel relationship and the fruit this partnership bears, ultimately benefiting both states. The symbol interacts with the two waves on top and bottom giving nod to the Israeli flag, Florida’s sandy tourist destinations, and Israel’s deserts in bloom.”
On Sept. 18, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1135, authorizing the creation of a “Florida Stands with Israel” specialty license plate. The signing took place on the eve of Rosh Hashanah.
HB 1135 enjoyed bipartisan sponsorship and passed through both the Florida House and Senate unanimously. The “Florida Stands with Israel” auto tag included in HB 1135 was originally submitted to the House in a separate bill co-sponsored by Florida House Minority Leader Kionne L. McGhee (D) and Representative Scott Plakon (R).
The design of the specialty license plate was decided by a free 45-day contest open to submissions by the general public. The panel of judges consisted of the lead legislative sponsors of the bill – Sen. Aaron Bean, Sen. Lauren Book, Rep. JW Grant, Rep. Kionne McGhee and Rep. Scott Plakon – joined by Bal Harbour Mayor and community leader Gabe Groisman.
“The community came together to participate in this design contest, to celebrate the Florida-Israel relationship and to demonstrate their pride in their Israeli heritage,” said Israeli-American Council Co-Founder and CEO Shoham Nicolet and IAC Board Member and IAC for Action Board Chairman Shawn Evenhaim.
Over 120,000 Israeli-Americans are in Florida. There are many key cooperative agreements, including an updated version of the 2013 Florida-Israel Memorandum of Understanding, which promotes collaborative research, development and commercialization of projects related to space development and life-science projects. Florida’s exports to Israel in 2018 were $400 million.
Recent data shows that since the legislature’s passage of a 2016 law defending its businesses from anti-Israel commercial boycotts, trade with Israel has increased by over 30 percent.
The specialty license plate will go into production once 3,000 pre-sale vouchers have been sold. Pre-sale vouchers are available for purchase here.
A portion of the revenue generated by sales of the new specialty license plate will benefit Hatzalah of Miami-Dade, inc. , a non-profit that deploys community-based, state-certified volunteer paramedics to slash response times and increase survival rates in medical emergencies.