Hotovely Says Student Wasn’t Boycott Activist

YERUSHALAYIM -

In a stunning departure from the state’s efforts to deport an American student with a BDS record, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said on Monday that the handling of the case was a mistake.

Hotovely said that Lara Alqasem, who has been held in detention at Ben Gurion airport for two weeks, “wasn’t really a boycott activist.”

“We must use the boycott law wisely and consider whether the international damage supersedes the benefits,” she told Hadashot on Monday night, referring to a 2017 law allowing Israel to bar boycott activists from the country.

“We made her an uncalled-for symbol,” added Hotovely of the student, who had quit a BDS group in Florida before arranging to study at Hebrew University in Yerushalayim.

Alqasem is awaiting a High Court ruling on her appeal against the expulsion order.