Tzipi Hotovely
Tzipi HotovelyHezki Baruch

North American Reform Movement President "Rabbi" Rick Jacobs disapproved the Israeli Prime Minister's choice to appoint Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) to the post of Diaspora Affairs Minister.

"Asking Tzipi Hotovely to be minister of diaspora affairs is like appointing a pacifist to be minister of defense. She has demonstrated woeful ignorance and disdain toward diaspora Jewish life. The PM must not want to strengthen Israel’s ties to world Jewry," Jacobs asserted.

Tensions directed by the Reform Movement at Hotovely were noted in 2017, when she observed that Reform in the United States may have been trying to intervene in Israeli political decisions. She acknowledged that American Jews not living in Israel do not understand the complexity of life in the Middle East, or what it means to have a mandatory draft.

“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 seen stormy discussions about Judaism and identity. These arguments are a healthy part of democracy.”

The statements were duly excoriated, with Israeli Leftists and American Reform calling for her immediate dismissal.

Prime Minister Netanyahu was also forced to issue a clear condemnation, stating that he "condemns Tzipi Hotovely's offensive statements against American Jewry. Diaspora Jews are dear to us and are an integral part of our people. There's no room for such remarks and her words don't reflect the position of the State of Israel," Netanyahu said at the time.

After Hotovely's appointment as Diaspora Minister, she issued a statement stating, "I will advance government policy that Jews from all communities and all streams will feel at home in Israel." Hotovely further promised: "I will work to strengthen the ties between the State of Israel and all our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora. I view with utmost importance work with the leaders of all communities in the fight against the rising wave of anti-Semitism in the world."