- June 5, 2020
An Israeli delegation of religious, business and political leaders presented Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood with a “Guardian of Israel” award Wednesday, May 24, in recognition of his stand against hate in Volusia County and across the country.
The award from Israel365 was presented at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention, where Christian media professionals and communicators are gathering over four days at the Marriott World Center in Orlando.
“It’s incredible to see our story here in Volusia County travel across the world and generate this kind of support and appreciation from Israel,” Chitwood said. “I’m beyond honored to accept this award and to keep spreading the message that hate and extremism have no place in our society.”
In February, Chitwood called a news conference and interfaith rally in response to harassment and hate directed at Jewish people in Central Florida.
A hate group had used a portable projector to display antisemitic messages on the side of Daytona International Speedway, draped a banner over the “Welcome to Daytona Beach” walkway outside the racetrack and littered several neighborhoods with flyers espousing hate and conspiracy theories.
These and several other incidents contributed to Florida’s passage of House Bill 269, which gave law enforcement new tools to protect people from harassment, threats and intimidation based on their religious or ethnic heritage.
Chitwood also recently received the "Critical Citizen Award" from the Palm Beach Synagogue.