Rival petitions both protesting and welcoming the appointment of Israel’s Settlements Minister Tzipi Hotovely as the next ambassador to the UK garnered hundreds of Jewish signatories this week.
A petition calling for the British Government to reject her appointment gathered almost 650 names by Wednesday lunch-time, while a counter-petition initiated by Jewish activist Jonathan Hoffman attracted 145.
In the 1980s Margaret Thatcher rejected Israel’s choice of UK ambassador and five years ago Brazil rejected Israel’s appointment of Dani Danon as envoy, leading to him being reassigned as Israeli ambassador to the United Nations.
The anti-Hotovely petition, addressed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, pointed to this precedent and urged the Government to ask Israel for a less divisive figure, drawing attention to her past comments, including her call to fly the Israeli flag over Temple Mount, a move that would likely lead to bloodshed.
“As British Jews we are clear that Tzipi Hotovely’s values and politics have no place in the UK,” they said. “It is crucial that the UK government sends a message that her views are unacceptable and rejects her nomination as ambassador.”
The anti-Hotovely petition was initiated by British Jewish group Na’amod, which Hoffman described as an “extreme fringe Left organisation”.
Describing Hotovely as “resourceful and helpful,” Hoffman told the FCO that Na’amod “represent no more than a handful of people in the UK Jewish Community… They claim all their signatures are from British Jews. Ask them to submit their list for independent verification”.
In response to the petition signed by British Jews, calling on the UK government to reject the appointment of incoming Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mrs. Tzipi Hotovely, the Chairman of JNF UK, Samuel Hayek said: “The British Jewish community will gladly and respectfully endorse Mrs. Tzipi Hotovely as the new Israeli Ambassador to the UK. She is a leader with many positive attributes and achievements and we wish her the best of luck in her new position”.