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Israel: Netanyahu appoints pro-settler right-winger as diaspora affairs minister

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely on 1 May 2017 [Tzipi Hotovely /Facebook]
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely on 1 May 2017 [Tzipi Hotovely /Facebook]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed a well-known right-wing Likud politician and supporter of the settler enterprise as diaspora affairs minister, reported Haaretz.

The choice of Tzipi Hotovely for the diaspora affairs portfolio has raised eyebrows, the report noted, since the Likud parliamentarian has previously blamed the rift between sections of the Jewish American community and the Israeli government on the former’s supposedly “convenient lives”.

During that 2017 interview, Hotovely referred to Jewish American critics of Israeli policy as people “that never send their children to fight for their country”. The comments prompted outrage from Jewish American leaders at the time.

On Sunday, following Netanyahu’s announcement, Hotovely thanked the prime minister for the appointment, stating: “I will work to enhance the ties between Israel and all Jewish communities and denominations of Judaism around the world.”

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Hotovely is also a well-known opponent of Palestinian political rights and supporter of the illegal settlement enterprise in the occupied West Bank. Last year, as deputy foreign minister, Hotovely described Palestinian use of their own land as a “takeover”.

“It’s important to stop the illegal construction and agricultural takeover by the Palestinians, which is taking place in areas under Israeli control,” said Hotovely, in a reference to Palestinian communities living in “Area C” – roughly 60 per cent – of the occupied West Bank.

Other ministerial appointments announced by Netanyahu’s office yesterday include David Bitan as agriculture minister, Shas’ Yitzhak Cohen will serve as the new housing minister, while Yifat Shasha-Biton will take up the labour, social affairs and social services portfolio.

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