The headlines in Israel have been dominated by the remarks of Deputy FM Tzipi Hotovely and the political consequences. What she said seems to make perfect sense to most Israelis, namely: “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, or to Iraq. Most of them are having quite convenient lives. They don’t feel how it feels to be attacked by rockets, and I think part of it is to actually experience what Israel is dealing with on a daily basis.” It is a fact that the number of American Jews in the US military is very small and that while American Jews get to express opinions about Israel and what its policies should be, they do not generally understand the politics of Israel and they do not know what it is like to have your children and grandchildren serving in the IDF.
But, her remarks in an interview were immediately pounced on by the liberal left part of American Jewry, namely the Reform and Conservative movements, and used as a bludgeon to attack PM Netanyahu and Israel in general. Netanyahu’s response was predictable, he forced Hotovely to apologize for her remarks under pressure of termination of her job, but secretly he was probably quite pleased with her for taking the heat of him for his reneging on an agreement over diaspora Jews using the Western Wall for mixed groups. There is no doubt that Netanyahu is most concerned with his political survival and that means compromising with the ultra-Orthodox Jews to keep his coalition alive. Even today Health Minister Yaakov Litzman resigned because Government workers worked on Shabbat to clear railway lines, work that could not be done during the working week.
Anyway, Hotovely apologized and was photographed with American Jewish “lone soldiers” serving in the IDF, who are here in Israel without their families. Yes, there are some famous Jewish American military leaders, including Admiral Hyman Rickover who developed the nuclear submarines. And there were many Jewish American leaders who fought against Nazism and Communism, such as Szilard, Einstein and Teller, the father of the American H-bomb. But, this makes no difference when you consider that American Jews do not live under the same constant threat as Israelis and would not suffer any consequences of their proposals for Israeli policies. When they exercise their free speech to give us advice, they should consider the responsibility that comes with it for those affected by their suggestions.