Hotovely: I've been welcomed by UK Jews

Ambassador says Palestinians are not interested in a two-state solution, in her first TV interview


Israel’s Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely said she had been welcomed by all denominations of British Jewry in her first broadcast interview in the role since taking it up last year. 

Interviewed on BBC2’s Newsnight by Emily Maitlis, the former Settlements Minister had been asked about the petition against her appointment as ambassador by nearly 2,000 liberal Jews here. 

Ms Hotovely said, “I am very happy that after six months I met, I think, every single group of the different denominations of British Jewry. They were all really welcoming and I really enjoyed meeting them.” 

The ambassador said that a travel corridor between Israel and the UK had been discussed during the visit of Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to Israel this week. 

Israel plans to welcome back tourists who have received vaccinations next month. 

In Israel, “people are going to restaurants, children are back to school, everything is normal,” she said. 

But asked about the contrast between Israel’s impressive vaccine rollout and the far lower rate among Palestinians, she reponded, “They wanted to run their own programme and I think we need to respect that. And when they asked Israel’s help, we were there to help.” 

Ms Hotovely said as a former cabinet minister, she was “probably the highest representative” Israel had sent here and described the UK as “one of our biggest allies”. 

She hailed the Abraham Accords signed by Israel with the UAE and Bahrain as an “amazing achievement”. 

But asked if she was in favour of a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, she avoided a direct answer. 

“I’m in favour of peace. We need to be realistic. In the Middle East, we need to have more pragmatic options and at the moment it looks like the Palestinians are refusing to come and negotiate,” she said. 

“You cannot speak just about a formula when the Palestinians are not willing to sit and negotiate with Israel because they are not interested in any kind of two-state solution.” 


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