New minister of diaspora affairs draws ire of American Jewish left

The move is considered controversial by those who took umbrage with Hotovely’s 2017 comment that American Jews lead “convenient lives.”

By World Israel News Staff

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promoted Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely to fill the vacant minister of diaspora affairs position.

“I thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for the appointment in which I will be fully committed to the government’s policy that every Jew should feel at home in Israel,” Hotovely said after her appointment.

“Accordingly, I will work to enhance the ties between Israel and all Jewish communities and denominations of Judaism around the world. I also look forward to working with them in the great task of battling the rising tide of global anti-Semitism, ” she added.

The move is considered controversial by those who took umbrage with Hotovely’s 2017 comment that American Jews lead “convenient lives.”

In a 2017 interview with i24 News, Hotovely was asked about the growing rift between Israel and many Jewish communities in the United States.

“Most of the Jews [outside Israel] don’t have children serving as soldiers, going to the Marines, going to Afghanistan, or to Iraq,” she said at the time. “Most of them are having quite convenient lives. They don’t [know] 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.”

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Hotovely, a religious Zionist, has also been an outspoken critic of adding an additional egalitarian prayer section at the Western Wall and has supported a proposed law that would not recognize conversions performed outside the Chief Rabbinate’s authority.

American Jewish leaders on the left are not happy that Netanyahu picked Hotovely for the position.

“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,” tweeted Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) on Monday.

On Sunday, Netanyahu also appointed David Bitan to fill the vacant Agriculture ministerial position.

David Bitan had been recommended in March by the police and State Prosecution Service to be charged with multiple counts of bribery following a two-year investigation. The corruption charges date to his time as deputy mayor of Rishon Lezion and as Likud MK and coalition whip, a six-year span between 2011-2017.

If Bitan is eventually indicted, he will be forced to resign, but the party portrayed the appointment as a fulfillment of a promise Netanyahu had made previously.

With the vacant Ministry of Construction and Housing ministerial position still left to be filled, Netanyahu appointed Deputy Minister of Finance Yitzhak Cohen of the Shas party to the post.