Israeli leader rebukes deputy over her comment about US Jews

Rabbi Rick Jacobs President of The Union for Reform Judaism giving a sermon Courtesy URJ

Rabbi Rick Jacobs President of The Union for Reform Judaism giving a sermon Courtesy URJ

During the broadcast, Netanyahu released the following announcement: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemns the harmful remarks by Tzipi Hovotely about US Jewry".

Hotovely says she was merely highlighting the complexity of Israeli life. "They don't feel how it feels to be attacked by rockets, and I think part of it is to actually experience what Israel is dealing with on a daily basis".

Now, had these words come from a non-Jew, we would no doubt have had a riot going on in the media about anti-Semitic vitriol - about Jews being lazy, privileged, unpatriotic and all the rest of it.

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Rabbi Gilad Kariv: "Deputy Minister Hotovley does not seem to understand her role as the deputy foreign minister". "The reason it's empty, if you ask me, is not that they don't like the arrangement", she said.

Netanyahu responded to her "offensive remarks" on Thursday.

What we are seeing here is an Israeli politician who has finally been challenged by a major US Jewish campus organization, and she is so angry, she can not control herself in her rage - behind that constant smile. "The Jews of the Diaspora are dear to us and are an inseparable part of our people". "Netanyahu already condemned her statements, but don't be confused, she expresses the government's decision to sacrifice relations with US Jewry for petty politics..." he added, the Jerusalem Post reported.

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Tzipi Hotovely appeared Wednesday on i24, an Israel-based English-language news channel.

Hotovely was lashing out against American Jewry, on the background of her being disinvited by Princeton University Hillel a couple of weeks ago, following a petition by progressive activists on campus.

In the interview, she also mentioned that U.S. Jews don't visit the Western Wall, which is now at the center of a controversy between Israel and Jews around the world over the creation of a non-Orthodox prayer site.

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Hotovely's office also said in a statement that the deputy FM's remarks were aimed at addressing the complexity of living in Israel, facing the ongoing threat of terrorism and missiles aimed at the civilian population. "The gap is due to the different realities of life", the statement said. But Hotovely's remarks appeared to dig further than normal by questioning the commitment of American Jews to their own country, an idea that Jewish groups in the USA say is an anti-Semitic trope.

The statement went on to say that most of Hotovely's interview stressed the great importance she attaches to the connection between Israel and Diaspora Jewry.

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