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UK’s Orthodox Jewish leaders denounce right-wing Israel ambassador’s visit

November 9, 2021 at 1:02 pm

Demonstrators holding banners gather for a protest against Israel’s attacks on Palestinians, and Tzipi Hotovely, Israeli Ambassador to London, in front of the Israel’s Embassy in London, United Kingdom on 21 May 2021. [Zuhal Demirci – Anadolu Agency]

Prominent leaders of the UK Jewish community repudiated a recent visit by Israel’s top envoy to London in an apparent refusal to recognise the occupation states’ right to exist.

Israeli Ambassador, Tzipi Hotovely, made a surprise visit to London’s Stamford Hill, which has a high concentration of Orthodox Jews. Leaders of the community have slammed her visit and said that she is not welcome in their area.

Four Jewish rabbis released a statement revealing that the envoy’s stop had been done without the knowledge of the leadership and was not in accordance with the Torah view. The statement did not mention the ambassador by name or title but referred to a representative “whose ways and ideas are not our own”.

The Jewish Chronicle, which reported details of the statement, said that its appearance reveals the reluctance within some sections of the Strictly Orthodox community formally to recognise the state of Israel.

The JC also said that while some Hasidic groups are affiliated to the Agudat Yisrael movement, which has previously served in Israeli governments as part of the United Torah Judaism party, others such as the powerful Satmar factions remain opposed to Zionism, arguing that the restoration of a Jewish state must await the Messiah.

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Since her appointment last year, Hotovely has regularly been at the centre of controversy within the British Jewish community. In her first speech organised by the anti-Palestinian Board of Deputies of British Jews, the 43-year-old peddled Nakba denialism claiming that the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians during Israel’s creation and after is an “Arab lie”.

Liberal Jews in Britain also demanded the cancellation of an event with Hotovely. They insisted that in honouring her with an invitation “our community has therefore become that much more tolerant of racism.” One of the chairs of Liberal Judaism also resigned in protest.

Sections of the British Jewish community campaigned against her appointment. Nearly 1,500 British Jews signed a petition calling on the Boris Johnson government to reject it. “Hotovely has demonstrated a complete disregard for international law throughout her political career, and has an appalling record of racist and inflammatory behaviour,” the petition pointed out.