Left demands Deputy Minister Hotovely's suspension

MKs push PM to suspend Hotovely for comments on American Jews, suggesting Diaspora Jews fail to understand Israel's predicament.

Mordechai Sones ,

Tzipi Hotovely
Tzipi Hotovely
Hadas Parush/Flash90

MK Dr. Nachman Shai (Zionist Union), a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and chairman of the Israel-US Relations Lobby, slammed Deputy Foreign Minister MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), over her recent comments regarding American Jews.

On Wednesday, Hotovely spoke with i24 News, discussing among other things the recent cancellation of a speech she had been scheduled to deliver at Princeton University at the invitation of the local Hillel chapter.

In response to Hotovely's assertion that "American Jews live comfortably and don't understand the reality in Israel," Shai responded Thursday, saying "American Jews were here before her and will be after her, too, and they do not need lessons from her in loving Jews or 'Who is a Jew'. Their support and affinity to the State of Israel is beyond doubt and is one of our most precious assets."

"It is difficult to describe the State of Israel without the support and backing American Jewry has given us. Mrs. Hotovely shouldn't give grades to American Jews as to their loyalty to Israel, they don't need it."

Shai dug in further: "It is not enough for the Prime Minister to condemn and reprimand his deputy, it is appropriate that she be removed from her post."

Some coalition members also ripped Hotovely over her comments, including MK Yulia Malinovsky (Yisrael Beyteinu).

"This ease with which certain Jews divide [the Jewish people] and rank the Judaism of other Jews is intolerable. This time, it's the Deputy Foreign Minister, another time, it's the Interior Ministry. I was born to another Judaism... pluralistic, accepting."

Zionist Union Chairman Avi Gabbay slammed Hotovely's comments as "embarrassing".

"The miserable and embarrassing words of the Deputy (non-existent) Minister Hotovely, the great fighter, moral preacher who spent her National Service in Atlanta. Netanyahu already managed to condemn her remarks, but not to be confused - she expresses nicely the line of a government that decided to sacrifice its relations with American Jews for small politics. On Monday I leave for a round of meetings with leaders and heads of organizations in the American Jewish community. We will return to power and correct everything that this government has taken upon itself to spoil - including the critical alliance with American Jews."

MK Tzipi Livni (Chairman of the "Zionist Union" movement) is not satisfied with the Prime Minister's statement either. "Instead of covering up the rift with Diaspora Jewry, we must correct it. It's not enough to shake off Hotovely's words - we need a correct policy and a Jewish and democratic state with a Judaism that embraces all streams.

"I recently met with leaders of Jewish communities and a clear message emerges - there is a deep rift and a disconnect between American Jewry and the State of Israel because of government policy. Young people who feel alienated and adults who feel deep frustration at the changes taking place within Israel: the extremism, the damage to democracy, and the closure of the Western Wall. They want them to listen to them and not to educate them, that we should open our hearts to them because they are members of the Jewish people. They are our brothers. The state of the Jewish people should be the state of the Jewish people as a whole, with Judaism that connects and does not cut off - both Jewish and democratic," she envisioned.