The Shmooze

Right-Wing Rabbi Encourages Thomas Friedman to Make Aliyah

By Nathan Jeffay

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One of Israel’s most right-wing politicians has published a bizarre offer to help New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman to establish his home near Hebron. Yaakov Katz of the National Union party writes that “when the day comes that Mr. Friedman joins us in our mutual homeland — and if he doesn’t, perhaps his children will — I promise to welcome him with open arms, and to help him make his home in our ancestral land, near Hevron, Shechem, or Ramallah.” The Ramallah reference is seemingly Katz asserting his belief that the whole area between the Mediterranean and Jordan is, by rights, Israeli.

Katz’s offer comes at the end of a diatribe against Friedman, who “makes his home in the ghetto of a foreign land, lives as a Diaspora Jew, and perhaps would like to get us to join him” – but will, he hopes, come around to his way of thinking and make aliyah. Katz writes of Friedman: “Playing the role of the negative exemplars of the stereotypical Diaspora court Jew, he is filled with self-loathing, ashamed of his origins - and aims to ensure that this is common knowledge.”


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