Israeli leader rebukes deputy over comment about US Jews

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem

Israeli deputy foreign minister has accused American Jews of living "convenient lives" and not understanding how it feels to be "attacked by rockets". Those tensions include disputes over restrictions on non-Orthodox prayer at the Western (Wailing) Wall and over the Israeli government's policies on Israeli Arabs and Palestinians.

At least 200,000 U.S. Jews live in Israel and a considerable number of young people serve in the military, Haaretz reported.

"'Most of the Jews [in America] don't have children serving as soldiers.' Is that a false statement?" wrote another. In response to the university's decision, she said: "The fact [that] you are inviting an overseas representative of the Israeli government and you are cancelling on the same day because some students don't like my opinions, this is something really bad that's happening under what I call the liberal dictatorship". Most Americans also don't have children going to Afghanistan or Iraq. Majority are having quite comfortable lives. "They don't know how it feels to be attacked by rockets, and I think part of it is actually experiencing what Israel is dealing with on a daily basis". "Diaspora Jews are dear to us and an inseparable part of our people". "Everyone is welcome to come here to influence Israeli politics".

US-educated Netanyahu, who is also foreign minister, described his deputy's comments as offensive. "For the past 20 years the topic of the Jewish community in the USA has concerned me and I truly feel that we are part of a family". "The one thing I wanted to convey is there is a difference between the reality in Israel in that the U.S. there is a very different reality, but that in no way contradicts the special bond that exists between us in this very important relationship", she said. "It is unthinkable that this is the face of the State of Israel towards world Jewry", Rabbi Gilad Kariv said.

Stressing unity between Israeli and American Jews, she said: "We are siblings, and siblings are allowed to have any argument within the family..."

In an unusual move, Netanyahu issued a sharp condemnation of Hotovely's remarks, calling them "offensive" and saying they do not reflect Israel's position. "There is great difficulty for people who don't experience daily life in Israel to understand the Middle East". "Israel and the USA are countries that have very different daily lives".

Netanyahu reportedly rebuked Hotovely in their Wednesday meeting, which preceded the interview she gave i24news, about previous comments she had made about diaspora Jewry.

While Israel has often quarreled with American Jews over their right to advise it from afar, Hotovely's remarks went further by appearing to insinuate they are not fully committed to their native country, a notion U.S. Jewish organizations have long fought against in their battle against anti-Semitism.

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