The incoming Israeli ambassador to the UK last year launched an outspoken attack on the Board of Deputies over its support for a Palestinian state in its 2019 Jewish Manifesto.
Tzipi Hotovely accused the Board of failing to consult “Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, our ambassador, any other political authority” ahead of the manifesto’s release in November last year.
The Board’s manifesto featured ten commitments – one of which included advocating for a “secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state”.
Speaking to Israeli weekly Olam Katan in December, Ms Hotovely – who is due to replace Mark Regev as ambassador to the UK later this summer – said: “There was no prior consultation regarding this document [by the Board] with the government of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nor with our ambassador, nor with any other political authority.’’
The Likud politician then added: “In every meeting between Jewish organisations around the world and politicians – the prime minister, foreign minister or myself – we emphasize that the idea of a Palestinian state is one that the State of Israel completely opposes.
“We have a rule regarding international election campaigns, and it’s that we do not take a stand on the domestic affairs of the Jewish community.
“But an organization that supports the establishment of a Palestinian state is clearly working against Israeli interests.
“It is important to say explicitly: A Palestinian state is a danger to the State of Israel.”
Ms Hotovely, 41, who has served as Israel’s Minister of Settlement Affairs, added that the establishment of a Palestinian state “contradicts the official policy of the State of Israel in general and the Foreign Ministry in particular.
“On the contrary, we are doing everything possible to advance the legal status of the settlements – the opposite of the idea of dividing the land.”
In a statement to Olam Katan , the Board of Deputies defended its Manifesto’s Fifth Commitment, advocating that British politicians should promote the establishment of a Palestinian state.
A “thriving and secure Israel”, its spokesperson said, “will be achieved through the resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians.
“While we recognise that there are a diversity of views on the preferred outcome to the conflict, the two-state solution is still the preferred outcome of most UK Jews, most of the international community and, significantly, also most Israelis.”
But the Israel publication quoted a poll conducted last November for Israeli Channel 12’s Meet the Press, which showed a majority of citizens opposed the establishment of a Palestinian state by 48.7 per cent to 43.8 per cent.
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “We will be delighted to work with the next Israeli ambassador to sustain and advance the relationship between Israel and the UK Jewish community, and between Israel and the UK more broadly.
"Pending clearance of the formal steps, we hope that Tzipi Hotovely will be successful in advancing these relationships and we will give her whatever support and advice we can to achieve these ends.”