Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday took the unusual step of publicly upbraiding Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely after she said US Jews are “people that never send their children to fight for their country” and that “most of them are having quite convenient lives.”
“Diaspora Jews are dear to us and are an inseparable part of our people,” he said in a statement Thursday. “There is no room for such an attack, and its words do not reflect the position of the State of Israel.”
Tzipi Hotovely appeared Wednesday on i24, an Israel-based English-language news channel. She was addressing increased tensions between Israel and US Jewry, including over restrictions on non-Orthodox prayer at the Western Wall and over the Israeli government’s policies on Israeli Arabs and the Palestinians.
Hotovely decried her dis-invitation earlier this month from the Princeton University Hillel because of her past comments on Israeli Arabs. Hillel later apologized.
She said she wished more American Jews would move to Israel to influence the political process there. “One of my goals,” she said, is to “bring American Jews closer to Israel… Everyone is welcome to come here to influence Israeli politics.”
But she then segued into a depiction of US Jews as distant from the sacrifices other Americans make, and the threats that govern life in Israel.
“The other issue is not understanding the complexity of the region,” she said. “People that never send their children to fight for their country, most of the Jews don’t have children serving as soldiers, going to the Marines, going to Afghanistan, or to Iraq. Most of them are having quite convenient lives. They don’t feel how it feels to be attacked by rockets, and I think part of it is to actually experience what Israel is dealing with on a daily basis.”
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