Israel must reconsider its choice of UK ambassador

Tzipi Hotovely. Screenshot from Youtube, via Jewish News

JVL Introduction

Tzipi Hotovely has just been appointed as Israel’s Ambassador to replace Mark Regev later this year.

By any account, she is an extraordinary choice. Not long ago she accused the Palestinians of being “thieves of history” because they don’t recognise the Biblical contract proving that Abraham bought the Cave of the Patriarchs at its full value.

Viscerally opposed to “mixed” (Jewish-Palestinian) marriages, or to American Jews who don’t send their sons to serve in the Israeli army, she perfectly encapsulates Netanyahu’s contempt for diaspora Jews who still regard Palestinians as human, deserving equal respect.

No doubt the Board of Deputies will welcome her with open arms.

Here Jenni Frazer a committed liberal Zionist writing in the Times of Israel, expresses her dismay.

This article was originally published by Jewish News on Fri 22 May 2020. Read the original here.

Israel must reconsider its choice of UK ambassador

Ordinarily, I would be cheering from the rooftops that the United Kingdom is to get its first female ambassador in the Israeli embassy. It’s way overdue and there are many talented women in the Israeli foreign service who would be wonderful representatives of the state of Israel.

But, try as I might, I cannot view the announcement of this latest appointment with anything but despair.

Benjamin Netanyahu, in putting together his newest, minister-heavy government, has put the icing on the cake by saying he is sending Tzipi Hotovely to London, to succeed Mark Regev.

Where to start in the many, many ways this is depressing news? Let’s leave aside the fact that she is not a career diplomat, which would be reason enough not to cheer. Or the fact that she is not arriving in London for several months: first, she is going to serve in the government as leader of the newly created Settlements Ministry, to be replaced by Tzahi Hanegbi when she leaves for Britain.

The daughter of Georgian Jewish immigrants to Israel, Hotovely, 41, is a self-described “religious right-winger”.

She entered the Knesset as its youngest member in 2009 and, since then, her career arc, on even the most cursory examination, has consisted of hitting the headlines whenever possible – and not in a good way.

What, for example, are we to make of her 2011 invitation to the Lehava organisation to speak to the Knesset’s committee on the state of women and gender equality, of which she was a member? Lehava’s mission is “prevention of assimilation in the Holy Land”, and its bigoted members – yes, bigoted – have frequently demonstrated against personal or business relationships between Jews and Arabs. Hotovely’s reasoning was that it was “important to check systems to prevent mixed marriages”.

It should scarcely be necessary to point out that even the most traditionally observant of politicians has no role in “preventing mixed marriages”. Would anyone have as casually invited members of the Ku Klux Klan to address a Knesset committee?

Here’s another little Hotovely gem,  this time having a go at American Jews: in a 2017 Israeli TV interview, the future Diaspora Minister – Lord save us – said that most American Jews “don’t understand the complexities of the region” [the Middle East], because they “never send  their children to fight for their country. Most of the Jews don’t have children serving as soldiers”.

Which is rich, considering that Hotovely herself did not carry out army service, instead bravely serving two years in Sherut Leumi, an alternative for religious women to the Israel Defense Forces, as a tour guide in a museum in Jerusalem and as a Jewish Agency representative in Atlanta, Georgia.

The time spent in Atlanta, incidentally, presumably means that Hotovely at least can speak English, which is more than can be said of the earlier nominee for the post, Communications Minister Dudi Amsalem.

It seems that Mr Netanyahu despises the professionals in the Foreign Ministry, and further that he doesn’t care if he insults both Britain and the Anglo-Jewish community by sending someone so manifestly unsuitable for this delicate role.

When the novelty of a woman ambassador has worn off, we will be stuck with a hard-rightwinger who does not support the two-state solution and will alienate so many British Jews, never mind trying to sell such views to a critical British government.

There is still time to change.

Comments (9)

  • Frank Land says:

    And I thought Mark Regev was the lowest of the low! But Bibi knows oi is possible to sink lower

  • RC says:

    Should we not publicise her support for Lehava and its appalling antics at every opportunity? I suspect most Brits, including Jews, are unaware of the ‘racial treason’ notion and its prevalence in Israel…. It is up to individuals whether we ‘assimilate’ or not, not to ‘communal leaders’….
    Mustn’t mention Nuremberg laws….ooops! there I go again…

  • Steve Abbott says:

    Bring it on!
    The Israel supporting Jewish community in the U.K. have already performed prodigious moral contortions, in defending the indefensible. Maybe this appointment will be the thing to finally break their determination to refuse to see the horrible reality of the state they support.

  • Martyn Meacham says:

    The israeli government must hand back the land it stole from the Palestinians, and stop the heinous crimes it continually commits against the Palestinians. Stop stealing and demolishing Palestinian homes!

  • Amanda Sebestyen says:

    But if the next Israeli ambassador is a stupid and clumsy nationalist with self-evidently distasteful and racist views, that is surely a great improvement on Regev who is a master of propaganda and has had an extraordinary success in driving ‘the wrong kind of Jews’ to the margins.

  • John Hurwitz says:

    The comment that “ The BOD will welcome her with open arms” is biased, contentious and unproven!

  • Ant Aloy says:

    Dear All

    Thank you Jewish Voice for Labour, for the fabulous support your organisation gives to promote peace and justice, which is tremendous and heart warming.

    I would urge people also to protest the views of Maajid Nawaz, who as an LBC presenter, who occasionally projects the Likud perspective.

    Originally he was a member of group: Hizb ut-Tahrir.

    Now he appears to sympathise with President Trump’s view on Jerusalem and also heavily criticised former US President Obama for abstaining on UNSC Resolution 2334, which condemned illegal settlements.

    His approach to Jackie Walker was less than appealing on LBC.

    Thank you.

    Best wishes

  • RC says:

    The IDF does indeed fight for a country and has done so since 1948 – to grab and annex as much of Palestine as they can; then to impose military rule on the Palestinians….

  • RC says:

    Pace John Hurwitz, the BoD welcomed Mark Regev with open arms on March 4 2016. And the BoD’s response to the IDF continual murders of Gaza demonstrators was so ‘contentious’ and proactive it had to be withdrawn. We await Mr Hurwitz’ examples of criticism of, or even reservations about, either Regev or Hotovely.

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