ISRAEL’S ambassador to Britain, Tzipi Hotovely, has had to learn to be, well, diplomatic. She’s held the post for a year and hasn’t put a foot wrong, but you sense she would love, at times, to articulate what she’s really feeling.
As an Israeli politician, she was never afraid to court controversy, but, as her country’s envoy, she has to steer a neutral path politically.
It’s not merely on a political level she needs to be diplomatic, but religiously, too.
Describing herself as modern Orthodox and a”religious right-winger”, Ms Hotovely doesn’t (or, rather, feels she cannot) attend synagogue on Shabbat — because she doesn’t want to appear to be favouring one congregation over another.
She explained: “We’re surrounded by five great communities next to my house, so every synagogue invites me to come.
“I don’t always do Jewish politics well, but all I can tell you is that St John’s Wood Synagogue was really wonderful to us, and most hospitable.
“But I just stay with my girls on Shabbat morning.”
Her husband, Or Alon, a lawyer, divides his Shabbat loyalties between St John’s Wood and Chabad.
Two things on which Ms Hotovely, 43, will commit herself are her admiration for Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (“I think he is wonderful and doing a great job”) and his predecessor, the late Lord Sacks, whom she describes as “one of the greatest Jews who has lived in in the last 100 years”.
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