After Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely harshly criticized Jewish Americans, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clarified in a statement that her remarks “do not reflect the State of Israel’s position.” During an interview with i24, Hotovely said that American Jews are “not even interested in going to the Kotel.”

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the offensive remarks about Reform and Conservative Jews made by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely during an interview with i24. “Diaspora Jews are dear to us and they are an inseparable part of our people,” Netanyahu said. “There is no room for such attacks and her remarks do not reflect the State of Israel’s position.” During the interview, Hotovely criticized Jewish Americans and said that they are distancing themselves from Israel, adding that they are “too young to remember how it feels to be a Jewish person without a Jewish state.”

When asked about the growing rift between Israel and many Jewish communities in the U.S., Hotovely said that American Jews fail to understand “the complexities of the region.” She added that they are “people that never send their children to fight for their country.”

“Most of the Jews don’t have children serving as soldiers, going to the Marines, going to Afghanistan, going to Iraq,” she said. “Most of them are having quite convenient 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 is dealing with on a daily basis.”


Hotovely Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Hotovely also commented on the Western Wall issue, accusing American Jews of turning the holy site into a political matter. “Most of the time it’s empty,” she said in regard to the egalitarian prayer site. “And the reason it’s empty, if you’re asking me, it’s not because they don’t like the arrangement, it’s empty because most of the time those people are not even interested in going to the Kotel.”

Netanyahu and Hotovely

Netanyahu and Hotovely Photo Credit: Alex Kolomoisky, Flash90

Director of the Reform Movement in Israel Rabbi Gilad Kariv commented on the interview: “The outrageous statements made by Deputy Minister Hotovely did not come out of nowhere. It is the direct continuation of the damaging behavior of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toward the Diaspora Jewry.” Kariv added that while Netanyahu’s statement rebuking Hotovely is appreciated, it is not enough. “The time has come for these things to be accompanied by actions and not just statements in English,” he urged.