Tzipi Hotovely, deputy foreign minister, a rising star in Likud

After a successful stint as deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely says Netanyahu promised her a ministry in the next government.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely wasn’t disappointed after being passed over for the Immigration and Absorption portfolio, which had been up for grabs after the Avigdor Liberman-led Yisrael Beitenu party left the government in November. Instead, it went to Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin.

“My years in the Foreign Ministry are my best in politics and the future is still before me. Netanyahu called me and promised me that I’d be a minister in the next government,” she said, in an interview on Israel’s Channel 12.

What may also soften the blow is that Levin’s stay will likely be temporary – only until the formation of the next government following elections scheduled for April 9.

Viewed as a less important ministry, immigration and absorption has often been given to a coalition partner, many times to someone who was not a native Israeli. Most recently, for example, Russian-born Sofia Landver of Yisrael Beitenu took the post when her party joined the coalition in 2016.

Hotovely has forcefully defended Likud policies in international forums and with often-hostile foreign media.

Formally, Netanyahu is her direct supervisor, as he holds the foreign ministry portfolio. He promised to appoint someone else to the post after he became Minister of Defense, but that is unlikely to happen now that early elections have been called.

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An unabashedly right-wing politician, Hotovely is a proponent of annexing Judea and Samaria while firmly opposing the creation of a Palestinian state.

“We need to return to the basic truth of our rights to this country,” she told Israeli diplomats in 2015. “This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that.”

On the internal politics front, she enthusiastically supported the Nation-State Law, which emphasizes the state’s Jewish identity. She labeled radical, left-wing organizations such as Breaking the Silence “an enemy that harms Israel.”

Most recently, Hotovely voted, along with the rest of the coalition, for a law to banish the families of terrorists, whom she blames for stoking their children’s hatred and “providing a hothouse for terrorism,” as she said in a Facebook post.

Hotovely, who just turned 40, had expressed interest in the Immigrant Absorption portfolio when Liberman took his party out of the coalition, calling it “a significant role,” and saying, “I can see myself as a minister.”

She has already served as Deputy Minister of Science and Technology and Deputy Minister of Transportation and Road Safety in previous governments.