You've seen them. You may even have one, just as I do: a specialty plate. These license plates sport a specific design, and a portion of their cost goes to fund a particular cause or organization.
Recently, Florida state Rep. Scott Plakon worked to get a plate celebrating the state's relationship with Israel inserted into a bill revising Florida's specialty license plate package. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill after it passed the legislature, and the "Florida Stands With Israel" plate should be available for preorder soon.
I interviewed Scott, whom The Orlando Sentinel has called "the most conservative legislator in Tallahassee," on a recent episode of The Strang Report podcast, where we discussed how this bill came about and its importance to all those who want to show their support for Israel, whether they live in Florida or not.
Scott told me backing for the Israel specialty plate came from both sides of the political aisle. "The first person I went to is Rep. Kionne McGee," Scott said. "He's from South Florida. He's the Democratic Minority Leader. So we worked together on this as a partnership. And I thought how beautiful it was in the divided political environment that we're all going through today, that we were able to come together as Democrats and Republicans to do this.
"And also in the Senate, it was Sen. Lauren Book [a Democrat]; the House, Jamie Grant [a Republican and] former representative now and several others who really helped push this cause through, and it really took a team effort," Scott said. "But it was a great example of bipartisanship."
But what will the plate look like? The short answer is we don't know yet. Scott told me about a contest now underway. "The only mandatory thing about the design is it has to have those four words: 'Florida Stands With Israel ,' he said, adding that the contest "is sponsored by Israeli American Council as well as Artists for Israel, and anyone can submit an application." Visit FloridaStandsWithIsrael.com for a full explanation and application for the design, Scott said.
He also explained where the proceeds will go, since by statute, the organization cannot take more than 10% for overhead. "The benefactor is Hatzalah of Miami-Dade," Scott explained. Modeled after a program that has existed in Israel for a number of years, this nonprofit "deploys community-based paramedics to slash response times and increase survival rates," the Florida Stands With Israel site explains.
Scott hopes that not only will this be a wonderful message to share within Florida but that other states will take on a similar project. "I think it's going to really be an amazing message," he said. "And from what I can tell, there are probably going to be a lot of evangelical Christians buying the license plate because of their passion for Israel."
I know I intend to get one, and I hope if you live in Florida, you will pray about doing the same and encourage others to do so as well. And even if you don't live in Florida, you may want to share this article and podcast with friends and family in other states so they can encourage their state legislators to offer a similar specialty plate. We know God's Word tells us that those who bless Israel will be blessed themselves (Gen. 12:1-3), and we must continue to stand behind this nation in every way we can.
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