Watch: Hotovely meets lone soldiers

Amid uproar over her comments on American Jews, Deputy Foreign Minister meets lone soldiers for Thanksgiving dinner.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff ,

Tzipi Hotovely
Tzipi Hotovely
Flash 90

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) met on Thursday evening with about 50 lone soldiers from the United States.

The meeting at Kibbutz Magen in the north-western Negev desert came amid the firestorm over Hotovely’s remarks about American Jews. Hotovely shared a video of the meeting on her Facebook page on Friday.

“Before Shabbat, I want to share with you one happy moment I had yesterday in the midst of the storm,” she wrote.

“I received a message saying: ‘Tzipi hello, my friends and I are lone soldiers from the United States. We wanted to share with you our Thanksgiving dinner, being held right now at Kibbutz Magen, so you can meet about 50 young Americans who serve/served in the IDF.’”

“My husband Or joined me and we drove to see them. We met a wonderful group of soldiers who had made aliyah. We talked openly about how they see the things I said, and what they think should be done to give them a sense of home. They are great heroes. I salute them,” wrote Hotovely.

“At the end of a week in which the issue of Diaspora Jewry and Israel became more relevant than ever, I asked them to be our ambassadors in creating the important bridge between Israel and American Jewry. Shabbat Shalom,” she concluded.

In an interview with i24 on Wednesday, Hotovely opined 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 U.S. 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 seen stormy discussions about Judaism and identity. These arguments are a healthy part of democracy.”

Hotovely’s comments sparked an uproar, and she later issued an apology, saying she had not meant to offend American Jews, and that she was cognizant of the great contributions American Jews have made to the State of Israel.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)