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Hotovely says sorry for offense caused as PM reportedly mulls sacking

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives an address at the London Stock Exchange in the City of London, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. Netanyahu arrived in London for an official visit Thursday, meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
AP Photo/Matt Dunham
Threat interpreted as a warning to Tzipi Hotovely: fall in line or you will be sacked

Embattled Israeli deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely offered an apology of sorts on Thursday after a news report suggested she may be fired for accusing "most" American Jews of "never" serving their country.

Her remarks in an explosive interview with i24NEWS stirred up a swift and searing backlash in both the United States and Israel, after she accused most American Jews of being “people that never send their children to fight for their country, most of the Jews don’t have children serving as soldiers, going to the Marines, going to Afghanistan, going to Iraq.”

Israeli television station Hadashot reported on Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is examining legal options for sacking Hotovely, a popular figure in his Likud party.

Appearing in the same channel on Thursday evening, Hotovely again refused to retract her comments.

"My family knows how to argue with a lot of love and that is my attitude toward American Jews," she said, "they are my brothers. If someone is hurt by my words, I am really sorry for that.

"For all those lone soldiers who have grandparents who fought in World War II and are Americans, I salute everyone. That was not the intention."

She also confirmed she had been personally reprimanded by Netanyahu.

The comments further strained relations between Netanyahu's right-wing government and liberal American Jewry and elicited an early morning rebuke from the prime minister, who branded it an "attack" on diaspora Jews.

According to the Hadashot report, Netanyahu is threatening to sack Hotovely as a message to her to "stop complicating the government - or you will be dismissed."

Gali Tibbon (AFP/File)

The report noted that in 2014, Netanyahu terminated then deputy defense minister Danny Danon over criticism he made of the government's conduct in that summer's war with Gaza militants, although he was later appointed ambassador to the United Nations.

Hotovely has refused to apologize for her remarks -- which expressed a view widely shared in Israeli society -- despite the prime minister's wrath and a Likud spokesman telling i24NEWS that there is "no doubt about it" that she needs to do so.

Israel's President Reuven Rivlin also weighed in to the swelling crisis during a speech at a memorial ceremony for Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion in Sde Boker.

Rivlin said that the pioneering Israeli leader recognized the important role the diaspora in the creation of the State of Israel, "without which it would lose the basic justification for its establishment: to be a national home for all Jews wherever they may be."



A Al Franken apology!

A view widely shared in the US as well. For those who know

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