PM reprimands Hovotely for berating US Jewry


"The only point I wanted to bring across was that the reality of life in Israel and the reality of life in the USA are very different realities and that does not contradict the connection and the dialogue that must persist between us and this important Jewry", she said in a Facebook video.

In the interview, she also mentioned that U.S. Jews don't visit the Western Wall, which is now at the center of a controversy between Israel and Jews around the world over the creation of a non-Orthodox prayer site.

Those remarks drew a swift rebuke from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, like Hotovely, is a member of Israel's right-wing Likud party.

Hotovely defended the government's decision earlier this year to freeze work on a solution to the Western Wall issue, noting that an egalitarian prayer space already exists in a location just south of main plaza.

"Most of the time it's empty", she said of the current egalitarian prayer space.

"Most of the Jews don't have children serving as soldiers, going to the Marines, going to Afghanistan or to Iraq", she said in an English-language interview on i24 TV news, according to Reuters. A lot of them are having quite comfortable lives.

In her comments, Hotovely said that one of her goals is to "bring American Jews closer to Israel...everyone is welcome to come here to influence Israeli politics".

Hovetely's tough talk and the relatively rapid response to it show that Netanyahu is aware of the major rift now separating the world's two largest Jewish communities: Israel and the US.

Hotovely also said she had fallen victim to a "liberal dictatorship" when speaking of an episode earlier in November when her invitation to give a talk at Princeton University was rescinded by Hillel, the premier organization for Jews on United States campuses. "The majority of the Israeli public and the majority of the Jewish world is fed up with the campaign of attacks, denigration and incitement of senior politicians against diaspora Jewry".

A statement issued Thursday morning from his office said that Netanyahu "condemns Tzipi Hotovely's offensive remarks regarding the American Jewish community".

Meanwhile, a Thursday post on Hotovely's Facebook page claimed that "partial quotes" taken from her remarks were "undermining the central message".

"American Jewry is important to us, we are siblings, and siblings are allowed to have an argument within the family", Hotovely's statement said. "I view the link between us and the American Jewry as essential". "The gap is due to the different realities of life", the statement said. Most Americans also don't have children going to Afghanistan or Iraq. In 2015, she infamously told ministry employees all of the land of Israel belonged only to the Jews.