Sunday, 5.1.2020, PM Netanyahu appointed Deputy Foreign Minister MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) to Minister of Diaspora Affairs in the transitional government.
For the past 7 years Jewish Pluralism Watch has been following Hotovely’s activity on issues of religion and state and World Jewry. From the information collected it is apparent that Hotovely’s actions can be divided into two categories:
In her role as Deputy Foreign Minister she acted in an egalitarian manner towards all Jewish communities without relation to what stream of Judaism they belonged to.
In her political role as a member of Likud and as an Orthodox woman, MK Hotovely chose to speak out in an unprecedented manner against the liberal movements is Judaism in North America. MK Hotovely did not hide her revulsion for the Conservative and Reform Jewish Discourse. She furthur claimed that they have no relevance in Israel because Conservative and Reform Synagogues are empty as well as the Egalitarian section of the Kotel.
As she entered her new job, the incoming MInister of Diaspora Affairs chose to emphasize that she will act to make Israel a home for Jews from all types of Judaism. Jewish Pluralism Watch will continue to monitor her statements, how she votes, and her decisions as the Minister responsible for the relationship with World Jewry.
On February 23, 2015, MK Hotovely gave an interview to the newspaper Kipah about conversion law and the bills then on the table and said:
“It must be understood that the Religious Zionism conversion courts are empty because there is a situation where non-Jews feel comfortable getting married in civil marriages and the court gives them everything. The solution to conversion is is not through making conversion conditions easier. The State of Israel must make this topic a national project. The current suggestions do not offer a solution to the conversion problem”.
On the 7th of November, 2017, at the IAC convention, MK Hotevely, in her role as Deputy Foreign Minister, spoke about the Reform and Conservative movements and claimed that they have drained Judaism of meaning.
“The Reform movement and Conservatism have decided to take the shell and the name of Judaism, all of the customs and tradition and to empty the meaning from them. To mold liberal values that have nothing to do with Judaism. Israel has existed for 70 years and people like Yair Lapid are marrying people by the tens of thousands and going and spreading their bible in public about progressive Judaism. I live in Rehovot, and there are two half-empty Conservative Synagogues there, maybe ask yourselves why it doesn’t work in the State of Israel”.
On November 23, 2017, in an interview to i24, Hotovely spoke out about North American Judaism, addressing the Kotel Agreement (that was meant to create an Egalitarian section for prayer at the Kotel).
“These are people who never send their children to fight for their country, and most of whom do not have children serving as soldiers, in Afganistan and Iraq. Maybe they are too young to feel what it is like to be Jewish without a Jewish Country. It is a very important goal to bring American Jews closer to Israel, but we need to be honest, the Egalitarian section of the Kotel is always empty because the Reform and Conservative aren’t really interested in going to the Kotel. The Israeli government has done a lot to enable egalitarian prayer, women can go with their families, men with their daughters, everything is ready but they wont accept it because it is a political issue. They want to gain recognition through the topic of the Kotel and the are turning a holy place into a point of political conflict”.
PM Netanyahu criticized her statement and in response Hotovely clarified:
“The interview was in support of United States Judaism. Those who criticized it didn’t see it and made do with one line from it”.
In April 2018, at the Channel 2 ‘Influencers’ convention, Hotovely spoke about Judaism in the USA:
“World Jewry is not USA Jewry. We need to look at World Jewry in a wider way, I care about world Jewry. We are losing USA Jewry because of intermarriage–assimilation. Netanyahu’s government is making an important move for Diaspora Jewry by opening the area near Robinson’s Arch (for egalitarian prayer). I am not worried for the Jews here, there is not forced religion, the Bait Midrash are flourishing and we have an amazing renaissance”.
In response to her appointment on 5.1.2020 to Minister of Diaspora Affairs, MK Hotovely tweeted:
“I thank PM Netanyahu for the appointment. As Minister of Diaspora affairs I will advance government policy so that Jews from all communities and movements in Judaism will feel at home in Israel. I will work to tighten the ties between Israel and all of our brothers and sisters in the diaspora. I think it is of utmost importance to work together with leaders of all communities to fight the increase of Antisemitism around the world”.