Israel's deputy foreign minister has drawn criticism after suggesting American Jews lead comfortable lives compared to the Jews living in Israel.
Tzipi Hotovely, who belongs to the ruling right-wing Likud Party, made the controversial comments during an interview with i24 News.
"Most (American) Jews don’t have children serving as soldiers, going to the Marines, going to Afghanistan, or to Iraq," she said. "Most of them are having quite comfortable lives. They don’t feel how it feels to be attacked by rocket, and I think part of it is to actually experience what Israel deals with on a daily basis.”
Her comments came days after she was disinvited from speaking at Princeton University Hillel in the wake of protests by Jewish students, who opposed Hotovely's visit because of her staunch opposition of Palestinian statehood and support for West Bank settlements.
Taking an aim at young American Jews, Hotovely went as far as saying they are "too young to remember how it feels to be a Jewish person without a Jewish state" and “don’t understand the complexities of the region.”
Predictably, her remarks have set off a scorching round of criticism from the American Jewish community, primarily because her claims are factually incorrect.
American Jews comprise only 2 percent of the total U.S. population, and around 1.09 percent of the members of the U.S. armed forces are Jewish.
Israeli leaders, including the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, also condemned Hotovely's comments:
PM Benjamin Netanyahu condemns Tzipi Hotovely's offensive remarks regarding the American Jewish community. The Jews of the Diaspora are dear to us and are an inseparable part of our people. There is no place for such attacks, and her remarks do not reflect the position of Israel.— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) November 23, 2017
Former Israeli PM Ehud Barak even called on Netanyahu to fire Hotovely:
Hotovely-arrogant and ignorant. US Jews send their children to fight, some have fought themselves. How dare she preach, when she herself hasn't served?— אהוד ברק (@barak_ehud) November 23, 2017
Our vital ties with our own flesh and blood are torn by weak BB and the extreme right. Faint condemnation will not do. Fire her
After receiving backlash, Hotovely issued an apology:
"The only point I wanted to bring across was that the reality of life in Israel and the reality of life in the U.S. are very different realities and that does not contradict the connection and the dialogue that must persist between us and this important Jewry," she said in a Facebook video.
While she has apologized, it wasn't the first time Hotovely had prompted controversy with her latest incendiary remarks. In 2015, she infamously told ministry employees all of the land of Israel belonged only to the Jews.
Thumbnail Credits: Arielinson/Wikimedia Commons