DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER Tzipi Hotovely (second row center) meets with American lone soldiers at Kibbutz Magen on Thursday..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
After coming under pressure from Likud central committee members, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not carry out his threat to fire Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely for the disparaging remarks she made about American Jews, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Hotovely angered Netanyahu when she told the i24NEWS television network last week that US Jews do not understand the reality of life in Israel because they do not send their children to the military or live under the threat of missile fire and that the pluralistic movements were using the Western Wall as a “political matter” to gain legitimacy for their movements.
After Netanyahu’s office let it be known that he was considering firing her, a group of central committee members who call themselves the Nationalist Campaign in Likud began a campaign to save Hotovely’s job.
The campaign released a statement praising Hotovely, defending her criticism of liberal American Jews and vowing “not to remain silent while she is facing unjustified hazing.”
The campaign received thousands of affirmations on social media and reached Netanyahu’s advisers.
“We made sure it would get to whoever it needed to get to,” said Likud central committee member Natan Engelsman, who is one of the leaders of the Nationalist Campaign.“We made sure [the prime minister] knew about it.”
Engelsman said he believes some 90% of Likud members agree with the statements Hotovely made.
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“We support her efforts against Reform Jews who aid the BDS movement or the New Israel Fund and harm Israel,” Engelsman said. “It was important to save Tzipi’s job because she is an authentic representative of the real right-wing Likud which protects the land of Israel and people of Israel. He was right to not fire her, which would have been a mistake and harmed the country.”
Likud central committee member Shevah Stern, who is also one of the leaders of the campaign, said the effort was received positively and evidently proved successful. He denied a report that the real reason for Netanyahu’s threat to fire Hotovely was that the prime minister suspected she was part of a conspiracy in Likud to topple Netanyahu from inside the party.
Hotovely accepted an invitation Thursday night from a group of 50 lone soldiers from the US at Kibbutz Magen to join their Thanksgiving dinner.
She and her husband, Or Alon, came to the dinner and had what she described as an open discussion about her statements. “I asked them to be our ambassadors in creating an important bridge between Israel and US Jews,” Hotovely said.
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