Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuked his deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, on Thursday after she said American Jews were too “comfortable” to understand threats to Israel.
Hotovely’s statement came amid a widening rift between the Israeli government and many U.S. Jews.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu reneged on a plan to build a mixed-gender prayer space at Judaism’s holiest site in Jerusalem, following pressure from ultra-Orthodox parties in Israel.
“Netanyahu condemns Hotovely’s offensive remarks regarding the American Jewish community.
“The Jews of the Diaspora are dear to us and are an inseparable part of our people.
“There is no place for such attacks, and her remarks do not reflect the position of the State of Israel,’’ Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.
Hotovely, of Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party, said U.S. Jews “never send their children to fight for their country.”
“Most of them are living quite convenient lives, they don’t feel how it feels to be attacked by rockets,’’ she said.
The Western Wall holy site in Jerusalem’s Old City is administered by ultra-Orthodox Jews who adhere to a strict interpretation of Judaism that forbids mixed-gender prayer services.
Report says many U.S. Jews oppose the ultra-Orthodox control, saying it stifles their ability to practice a more liberal form of Judaism.