Culture Minister Miri Regev should allow a representative of Diaspora Jewry to light a torch at the Independence Day ceremony on Mount Herzl next Wednesday evening, in place of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, who canceled his participation in the event, Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai wrote in a letter to Regev.Shai, who heads the Knesset Caucus for Strengthening the Jewish People, told The Jerusalem Post he was outraged that Regev, who heads the Ministerial Committee for Ceremonies and Symbols, did not select a single Diaspora Jew, after Birthright Israel founder Michael Steinhardt and Simon Wiesenthal Center founder Rabbi Marvin Hier lit one last year. Without recommending a specific candidate, Shai said the torch lighter could be a Jewish leader, scientist, author or entertainer.“The president of Honduras is okay and Jewish leaders are not?” Shai asked sarcastically.“It’s wrong to celebrate Independence Day without including the important role of the Diaspora Jewish community. They were influential in giving birth to the state, and in every crisis since then, they were there for us.”Shai wrote in the letter that it was shameful that Israel only remembers Diaspora Jewry at moments of crisis.“This shocking step continues the pattern of the dangerous distancing of Diaspora Jewry by the Israeli government,” he wrote.“Just like with the Kotel crisis and the conversion issue, Israel is once again slapping the Jewish Diaspora in the face and rejecting them.”Sources close to Regev responded that the public committee that selected the torch lighters unanimously picked US actress Mayim Bialik to represent world Jewry, she accepted the invitation, and then realized she had to work in Hollywood that day. It was then too late to reconvene the committee to select an alternative representative.The sources said Hernández had been chosen as a representative of the Foreign Ministry, because he was trained by Mashav, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation. Instead of Hernández, another Mashav representative will light the torch.Regev’s associates noted that she was the one who started the tradition of having a Diaspora representative light a torch, and promised that the tradition would resume next year.