BDS not about economics, but 'demoralizing' Israel, Deputy Foreign Minister tells young olim

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely urges young olim to help safeguard Israel’s Jewish identity to beat the "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" movement

  • Click here for the article in the Jewish Press.
  • Click here for the article in Likudnik (Hebrew). 

Center: Dep. Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely. Jacob Silvermetz to the right of her.
FEBRUARY 16, 2015, Rehovot, Israel—Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely lambasted the BDS movement, saying “it is not an economic movement, but a movement which aims at demoralizing the State of Israel.”

Hotovely’s remarks came in a meeting with young English-speaking immigrants (olim in Hebrew), whom she encouraged to be active in Israel’s political life.

Though it also urges a cultural boycott of Israel, the BDS movement prominently urges the boycotting of Israeli products, economic sanctions against Israel, and for companies and institutions which have invested in Israeli companies to divest from such companies.

Hotovely told the olim that the BDS movement has in fact had little impact on Israel’s economy and noted that economically and diplomatically, Israel is stronger than ever.

As deputy foreign minister, Hotovely said she witnesses foreign dignitaries from all over the world constantly visiting the country and looking for new ways to partner with Israel.

Since it primarily targets Israel's "ideological soul," Hotovely said the proper answer to BDS is to safeguard Israel’s Jewish identity and thereby its confidence in its cause. 

Hotovely urged the young olim, who came to Israel for ideological reasons, to take part in that struggle.

Jacob Silvermetz, a coordinator for Likud Anglos and an oleh from the U.S. organized the meeting.

Silvermetz said he felt “an amazing sense of purpose” in the meeting and hoped Hotovely's words would stir his fellow olim to action.

“I hope we can channel that collective feeling to make practical contributions to our country and its international image," he said,

Silvermetz’s wife, Lizzy, an olah from London, England, and Penina Grunseid Katsch, an olah from Brooklyn, N.Y., who served in the IDF Spokespersons Unit and currently studies Government at the IDC Herzilya, also helped organize the meeting.

"I liked Hotovely’s message about having a bigger say in politics and the leadership of the country,” Lizzy Silvermetz said. She added that while the political system “affects so many people,” it is often “so little understood."

Since being appointed deputy foreign minister Hotovely has turned heads with her approach of emphasizing the Jewish people’s just claim to the land of Israel.

Just a few days after being appointed Deputy Foreign Minister in May 2015, Hotovely told Foreign Ministry personnel around the world to use the Jewish claim to the Land of Israel as part of their diplomacy. 

In that speech, Hotovely cited the 11th century biblical commentator Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaky (Rashi), who’s opening comment on the Bible was to note that since God created the entire universe, He had the legal and moral authority to convey the Land of Israel to the Jewish people.