Israeli ambassador condemns far-right Jews

Tzipi Hotovely spoke out after a Masorti youth movement boycotted an event citing her alleged sympathy for controversial group


Israel’s ambassador to London has condemned the far-right group Lehava, which caused outrage by chanting “death to the Arabs” in protests in Jerusalem last week.

Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely has been dogged by accusations of sympathy for the group since she invited Lehava representatives to the Knesset to take part in a discussion about assimilation in Israel in 2011.

Speaking exclusively to the JC, Mrs Hotovely insisted that she had no time for the sort of divisiveness shown by the extremist group.

“I was not and never will be associated with Lehava and what it stands for,” she said. 

“As a chair of a Knesset committee, it was my duty to allow everyone who requests to participate in the committee’s deliberations a chance to voice their opinion, whether I agree with them or not. 

“Freedom of expression is a fundamental principal of any democratic society. Moreover, anyone who opposes equal rights for all citizens of Israel opposes our Declaration of Independence and the foundations upon which our society is built.”

It comes after Noam, the Zionist youth movement affiliated to Masorti Judaism, boycotted an event involving Mrs Hotovely last week, citing her alleged warmth for Lehava.

The ambassador responded by offering an olive branch to the group, saying at the start of the event: “All those youngsters who didn’t come tonight, I’m inviting you to my home.

Even in a family, people think different things but we are still a family… My home is open to everyone. The Jewish tent is big enough for every single Jew.”

Noam had decided to hold an alternative session on Wednesday night, featuring Zionist activists instead of the ambassador.

In a statement, the youth movement had said: “[Mrs Hotovely] has consistently refused to recognise Palestinian heritage, referring to the Palestinians as ‘thieves of history’ and invited Lehava – a racist organisation denounced by the President of Israel – to speak at the Knesset.”

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