Watch

Israeli Diplomat Goes on a Thanksgiving Charm Offensive After Insulting U.S. Jewry

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely posts a video on Facebook after having Thanksgiving dinner with young Americans serving in the IDF in an apparent attempt at damage control after attack on U.S. Jews

Tzipi Hotovely wishing American Jews a happy Thanksgiving.
Tzipi Hotovely wishing American Jews a happy Thanksgiving. Facebook

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has gone on a Thanksgiving charm offensive after coming under fire earlier in the week when she accused American Jews of leading "convenient lives," not serving their country, and thus being unable to relate to the realities that Israel faces.

In a video posted on her Facebook page on Friday, Hotovely said she had been invited by a group of 50 young Americans, all of whom were lone soldiers serving in the Israeli army, and most of whom had immigrated to Israel, to share with them a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Hotovely said the soldiers were to be Israel's ambassadors in the U.S., who would serve as a "bridge between Israel and American Jewry." This, she said, was her solution to the "discussion" that her comments earlier in the week had provoked.

Hotovely said that during the meal they had spoken openly about how her comments had been received by them, and what needs to be done to help American Jews feel at home in Israel.

In an interview on i24 on Wednesday, Hotovely said U.S. Jews don't understand the complexity of the Middle East because they "never send their children to fight for their country," and accused them of expoliting the Western Wall crisis for political gain. Her comments provoked a sharp outcry among the American Jewish community, and were branded as "unacceptable," "disrespectful" and "a new low" in the "litany of Israeli government actions denigrating the rights and importance of Diaspora Jews."

Following the outcry, the deputy minister took to Facebook to clarify her remarks, saying that "U.S. Jewry is very important to me, that's why I went to the U.S. in order to speak with the young generation there. The connection, the dialogue, as common among siblings in the same family, is the most important thing."