Published: Fri, November 24, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Israeli official under fire for comments on American Jews' military service

Israeli official under fire for comments on American Jews' military service

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday rapped his deputy foreign minister for "offensive" remarks in which she said US Jews were too "comfortable" to understand threats to Israel.

Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely was reprimanded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just hours before giving a controversial interview about US Jews, Channel 2 News reported exclusively on Thursday. "There is no place for such attacks, and her remarks do not reflect the position of the State of Israel".

"It is important to say that most of the interview spoke about the importance that [Hotovely] sees in the connection between us and American Jewry, and that Israel is the home of all the world's's a shame that this part has been left out of the part published on the internet".

Hotovely claimed that since most of the Jews in the USA don't have children who served in either the Israeli or US military, and have not lived under the constant threat of rocket fire, they don't understand the complexities of the region. She further criticized Princeton University Hillel, which recently disinvited her from speaking amid protests from Jewish students, saying that she was poorly treated by the Jewish campus organization. Majority are having quite convenient lives. "They don't know how it feels to be attacked by rockets, and I think part of it is actually experiencing what Israel is dealing with on a daily basis". "The reason it's empty, if you ask me, is not that they don't like the arrangement", she said. "Diaspora Jews are dear to us and an inseparable part of our people".

"There is no argument between me and him, there is no disagreement about the fact that US Jewry is dear to Israel", she said in Hebrew. Hovotely frequently mentions the alternative event held by Chabad in which she did participate and the unwillingness of parts of the Jewish community to listen to her opinions. "Deputy Minister Hotovely affirms that US Jews make a large contribution, but you can't condition the relationship with Israel on the government's policies". The Pew Research Center estimated in 2013 that Jews make up about 2 percent of the US adult population. "The gap is due to the different realities of life", the statement said.

Despite the negative press and rebuke in the Knesset, many comments on social media defended Hotovely.

Conservative Israelis and more liberal American Jews have often been at odds over contentious issues such as treatment of the Palestinian minority, settlement building in the disputed West Bank, and rules governing religious practices at Jerusalem's holy sites.

"One may argue about the timing of Tzipi Hotovely's comments, but is very hard to argue on substance of her remarks", one perso, tweeted.

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