Headlines matter. The one in question – “Hotovely insults US Jewry, then apologizes under pressure” (November 24) – is entirely misleading.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely was accused of insulting US Jewry but did no such thing. She merely stated that the majority of US Jews do not have the same experience as Israelis, which is patently true; hence, they cannot properly understand us. It is a fact of human nature that reading about something is much less compelling than experiencing it.
It is shameful that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used Ms. Hotovely as a sop to alleviate his own problem with the US Jewish leadership – just one more fact that indicates he has exceeded his “use by” date.
To be fair to Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, she was faced with an insuperable problem: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unwillingness (political cowardice) to articulate or explain his government’s policy (if any) regarding the Palestinians and the West Bank.
Hence her resort to criticizing Americans who are understandably bewildered by Israel’s stance and infuriated by her prime minister’s insatiable lust for power, however damaging the consequences – like capitulating to all and every haredi demand, especially his reneging on the signed Kotel deal.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely walked straight into an ambush laid by liberal and progressive Jews in America.
She was invited to speak at the Hillel House at Princeton University. Many Hillel Houses are staffed by liberal rabbis who have a bias against the State of Israel. At the last minute, she was disinvited.
Ms. Hotovely walked right into this trap by complaining about some American Jews who had insulted the State of Israel – which raised a storm of protest from many American Jewish organizations.
The leaders of the liberal Jewish communities in America are facing catastrophically increasing irrelevance, as part of their communities are becoming decreasingly connected to their Jewishness and increasingly intermarrying with non-Jews, and thus leaving the temples in droves. The leadership thinks that by driving a wedge between American Jewry and Israel by demanding an unnecessary use of Israeli taxpayers’ money to build a separate prayer area at the Western Wall that will go unused most of the time, it can increase their movements’ relevancy in both America and Israel.
The liberal leadership of American Jewry must be rubbing its hands in delight at the success of its latest venture.
Ms. Hotovely bitterly resented the insult that she and the State of Israel received – and she gave back what she had been given. She may have been undiplomatic, but together with many Israelis, she is only human.
Your screaming headline was totally uncalled for. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely didn’t insult American Jews – she just told it like it was, as Israelis are wont to do.
Whenever I go back to visit family and friends in the States, it becomes clearer and clearer to me that she is absolutely right. She didn’t insult anyone; she just factually stated the obvious.
The sad truth is that the gap between those of us who make aliya from the US and the people we leave behind keeps growing. The real reasons are not merely the Western Wall or conversions, but generational changes in culture and the weakness of American Jewry in general to hold on to the values held by those of us who grew up either before or after Israel’s creation.
As an American, I am shocked and disgusted with the way people have responded to remarks made by your deputy foreign minister.
Tzipi Hotovely said she felt that Americans have a difficult time understanding the feelings of Israelis due to the fact that most do not have children who have to serve in the army, and that they live convenient lives and don’t know how it feels to be under missile attacks. I would like to know: Where is the slander in this statement that offends so many American Jews? Exactly which part of it is not true? Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, wants Hotovely fired because of her “ill-informed and insulting views.”
Ill-informed? I’d like to ask Rabbi Jacobs what percentage of his congregants have a child in the armed forces. Last I thought about it, I was thankful to God that I lived in a country where most of my fellow Jews were able to live comfortable lives. And I am aware of no Jews in America who know how it feels to have their homes under missile attack.
It indeed is a little difficult for me to truly understand the position of someone who has to watch his or her children go off to the army at 18 and potentially fight in a war. And I don’t worry about listening to the news each hour just to be sure no one else was stabbed today or shot today or run over today.
Be thankful, for God’s sake, for the world you live in, and give the people who aren’t as fortunate a break. Ms. Hotovely told the truth, and every American knows that.
From my own 22 years in the US Navy, I was typically the only Jewish man on any of my ships. I knew only one Jewish admiral, V.-Adm. Doug Katz, who is now retired.
When I joined the Jewish War Veterans, a national officer told me that the organization was nearly dead due to the lack of eligible Jewish men who could join.
This lack of military service among Jewish Americans is a disgrace and should be more widely condemned. How on earth can any of these Jewish families claim to value their American citizenship when they are not willing to lift a finger to defend their own country? It is a bit ironic that I know more Jewish American men who have served in the IDF than in our US armed forces.
J. TYLER BALLANCE
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely’s comments may be blunt, but they are accurate.
Most Americans have no plans or intentions of making aliya – life is too comfortable there. I don’t blame them; I just feel sorry for them.
But this is not a new phenomenon. Ezra faced the same issues 2,400 years ago when King Cyrus gave permission to the Jews to return to the Land of Israel and rebuild the Temple. Only a small percentage followed him; most stayed back in Babylonia. Life was too comfortable there.
So history is repeating itself and Ms.
Hotovely was only calling it as it is. If American Jews are insulted, they should look in the mirror and see themselves for what they are.
It’s not easy to pick up and leave the homeland you were born and raised in. But at least admit that you are not in a position to fully understand what life in Israel is like and to make judgments about how those living here should conduct themselves.
Ms. Hotovely apologized. Now it’s American Jewry’s turn to apologize to her.
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