Israel's ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely with her family outside the embassy building
Israel's ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely with her family outside the embassy buildingYakir Tzur

In January of this year, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen announced that Tzipi Hotovely, Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom, would have her position extended for another year due to satisfaction with her performance. Nonetheless, the appointment has not been without its challenges, and in a recent interview with the UK's Sunday Times, Hotovely described several extremely disturbing incidents.

In one incident, Hotovely's husband, Ohr Alon, was driving with the couple's three daughters aged eight, six, and four. As they passed through the London neighborhood of Finchley, which has a sizeable Jewish population, they found themselves caught up in a protest convoy of vehicles organized by a pro-Palestinian group, and became the recipients of chilling threats.

"My husband and daughters were surrounded by vehicles and the protesters were saying terrible things, talking about raping the girls from the Jewish community," Hotovely described. "It was horrific, especially as this was in broad daylight."

Hotovely, who is also deputy Foreign Minister and a former Diaspora Minister, added that she has been the victim of pro-Palestinian protesters on numerous occasions, and the object of serious threats, leading to her being given a police escort at times. On one occasion in 2021, police had to extricate her from a debate that had been held at the London School of Economics after protesters shouted curses at her during a demonstration that turned violent.

Hotovely also utilized the interview to discuss the Israeli government's position on Iran, and stress that a nuclear Iran would pose a threat not just to Israel, not just to the Middle East, but to the entire world. "Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] recently discovered that Iran has succeeded in enriching uranium to 84 percent - that means they're just six percent away from the nuclear threshold, and could reach it within the next three weeks," she said. "That's the core of my message on Iran: It poses a threat to Britain just as great as the threat it poses to Israel."

Hotovely also addressed herself to the British government, urging it to continue to apply pressure and sanctions on the Iranian regime in an attempt to halt its nuclear program. She noted support provided by Iran to Russia in its war against Ukraine, including supplying drones used to attack the Ukrainian military.

Due to ongoing threats against her and her family, Hotovely is provided with enhanced security protection while in the UK. "I have extremely close protection, and I know that I'm a target," she said.

Last month, Tom Tugendhat, the UK's Minister of State for Security, warned that criminal gangs commissioned by the Iranian authorities had selected various leaders of the Jewish community in the UK as possible targets for assassination. He confirmed that the UK's intelligence agencies had warned various individuals, and that enhanced security was being provided for them.