Israel’s new far-right ambassador to the United Kingdom, Tzipi Hotovely, has arrived in London with her family.
Hotovely is currently waiting for a date to present her letter of credence to Queen Elizabeth before she formally assumes her new position.
“Delighted and excited to be here. Proud to represent my country,” she tweeted on Thursday, together with a photo of herself, her husband and daughter dragging suitcases into their new London residence.
It is thought that any British objections to her appointment may have been eased by Israel’s suspension of its West Bank annexation plans in the framework of a peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates.
Hotovely is pro-settlement, anti two-state solution and wants to see Israeli sovereignty over the Al Aqsa Mosque compound. She was formerly Israel’s Settlements Minister.
She has also advocated for a unilateral Israeli annexation of the West Bank, something the British government has repeatedly rejected as a blatant violation of international law.
The new ambassador, who describes herself as a “religious right-winger” also once claimed that there is “no Palestinian people.”
In a speech to supporters of the Temple Institute in 2017, Hotovely called on them to enter the mosque compound – Islam’s third holiest site.
In October 2015, in an interview with the Knesset Channel, Hotovely said: “It’s my dream to see the Israeli flag flying on the Temple Mount.” She added: “I think it’s the centre of Israeli sovereignty, the capital of Israel, the holiest place for the Jewish people.”
She also made headlines after a 2015 speech to civil servants marking her arrival at the foreign ministry, when she invoked religious texts to claim that the entirety of historic Palestine belongs to Jews alone – what she has termed the “Greater Land of Israel.”
“This land is ours,” she said. “All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologise for that.”
The announcement that she will be Israel’s next ambassador even raised opposition among Zionists in the UK, who worried she would damage Israel’s image.
Writing for The Jewish News, Jenni Frazer described her appointment as an insult to the UK and warned that she would “alienate so many British Jews” from Israel.
And an online petition by Jewish pro-Palestinian activists urging the UK government to reject her on the grounds of her right-wing policies garnered more than 1,800 signatures.
“Hotovely has an appalling record of racist and inflammatory behavior from throughout her political career,” the petition read. “As British Jews we are clear: Tzipi Hotovely’s values and politics have no place in the UK. It is crucial that the UK government sends a message that her views are unacceptable, and rejects her nomination as ambassador.”
However, the community’s main representatives, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, insisted that they were prepared to work with her.
In a statement, Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “We will be delighted to work with the next Israeli ambassador to sustain and advance the relationship between Israel and the UK Jewish community … We will give her whatever support and advice we can to achieve these ends.”
Hotovely is replacing Mark Regev who has since returned to Israel and retaken his old position as a spokesperson and media adviser to Netanyahu.