Prime Minister punishes Hotovely, nixes her Czech trip

Trip to Czech Republic by Deputy Foreign Minister reportedly was scrapped a week after her comments on US Jewry.

JTA and Arutz Sheva Staff,

Tzipi Hotovely
Tzipi Hotovely
Flash 90

A scheduled trip to the Czech Republic by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely reportedly was scrapped a week after her comments on US Jewry in an interview in English.

Hotovely had been scheduled to leave for the Czech Republic on Wednesday. Hours before her departure, the Prime Minister’s Office contacted her and told her not to travel to the eastern European country, Hadashot News reported Wednesday afternoon.

Hotovely’s office said the trip was postponed, not canceled.

In an interview with i24 last week, Hotovely said she has used her position to try to bring American Jews closer to Israel, and hopes that more Jews from North America immigrate to the Jewish state.

Hotovely added, however, that there is growing tension between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, stemming from, she claimed, a lack of understanding regarding the complexities of the geopolitical situation.

“The other issue is not understanding the complexity of the region,” she said. “Most [American] Jews don’t have children serving as soldiers, going to the Marines, going to Afghanistan, or to Iraq. Most of them are having [sic] quite comfortable 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 deals with on a daily basis.

“This is the reason for the distancing between US Jews and Israel. American Jews contribute a great deal to Israel, but they cannot condition their connection to Israel on the government's policies. We need to remember that the past few years have witnessed stormy discussions about Judaism and identity. These arguments are a healthy part of democracy.”

Hotovely’s comments sparked an uproar from leaders of the Reform movement in the US, and drew condemnation from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Subsequently, in conversation with Arutz Sheva, Hotovely said she wished to clarify the matter.

"I meant to say something simple. I wanted to say that living in a tiny country surrounded by hostile territory is not like the life of a huge country whose wars are far from the country's borders. Does anyone really think there is a similarity between the life of an American Jew and the life of an Israeli in Israel? There is no similarity. But we are a family - and a family has to understand each other. "


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