Statement by Jewish Board
Zionist Federation and Chief Rabbi
Jewish Community on the Situation in Gaza,
January 7, 2009
The South African Jewish Community firmly supports the decision
of the Government of Israel to launch a military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Bearing in mind the inevitable
loss of life which occurs in every military conflict, we share with the citizens of Israel the heavy heart with which they
have embarked upon this operation. Israel has done everything in its power to avoid the situation which it finds itself in,
including the dismantling and evacuation of all Jewish Settlements in Gaza over 3 ½ years ago. Israel’s gesture of peace
however, has been met by a barrage of thousands of missiles which have rained down upon the villages, towns and cities of
Hamas’ decision to fire, without provocation, approximately
80 rockets per day into Israel after the expiry of the recent cease fire forced the Government of Israel to take the necessary
steps which ever civilised State is required to do in order to protect its own citizens from further terror and attacks. We
hope that the Israeli Defence Force is able to carry out its mission with the minimum loss of life and casualties.
The Jewish Community of South Africa calls upon the South African
Government as well as the ruling African National Congress Party (“ANC”) to act in a balanced and constructive
manner towards the conflict in Gaza. We hope that the Government and the ANC use its special relationship with the Palestinian
leadership to persuade them once and for all to enter into peaceful negotiations with Israel. These negotiations will hopefully
lead to the fulfilment of what the South African Government and the ANC have repeatedly stated is the desired outcome for
the region, namely the achievement of a two-State solution which allows Israelis and Palestinians to live peacefully side
by side with one another.
The leadership of the South African Jewish Community understands
that many citizens of South Africa have strong ties to participants in the Gaza conflict and we urge the communities in question
to join the Jewish Community in ensuring that the conflict in the Middle East is not imported into South Africa and is not
allowed to disrupt the excellent relationships which exist between all of the communities and peoples of South Africa.
Response by members of
the South African Jewish community to a statement by the Jewish Board of Deputies, Zionist Federation and Chief Rabbi concerning
Israel's attack on Gaza January 11, 2009
South African Jews condemn the Israeli attack on Gaza
January 29, 2009
Posted on the web site of South Africans Supporting Human Rights
in Israel and Palestine (SASHRIP) http://www.sashrip.org/
South African Jews have issued a statement condemning the Israeli
attack on Gaza. The statement is in response to a statement supporting the attack that was issued by the South African Jewish
Board of Deputies, South African Zionist Federation and Chief Rabbi, claiming to speak on behalf of the South African Jewish
If you are a member of the South African Jewish community and
you wish to endorse this statement, please send an email by clicking here.
The Jewish Board of Deputies, Zionist Federation and Chief Rabbi
have issued a statement titled "South African Jewish Community on the Situation in Gaza." It claims that the "South African
Jewish Community firmly supports the decision of the Government of Israel to launch a military operation against Hamas in
the Gaza Strip."
We are members of the South African Jewish Community. While we
recognise the existence of communal structures, we are distressed that they purport to speak for us and the many Jews who
are uncomfortable with the destruction in Gaza, claiming one collective view for the entire community. Given the divergence
of opinion within the community, their approach is irresponsible and we are forced to respond.
We are dismayed by the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli
military in Gaza. So far over 750 Palestinians and 13 Israelis have been killed. Many of the Palestinian casualties are civilians
-- unarmed and uninvolved in any operations against Israel. We deplore all the lives lost whether in Sderot or Gaza. We are
acutely aware that while parts of Southern Israel have lived under the constant threat of Hamas rockets, the residents of
Gaza are experiencing significantly greater terror and destruction.
We strongly oppose the rockets Hamas has been firing into Israel
before and during this bombardment. These have deliberately targeted civilians and we call on communities and groups vocal
in their support for the Palestinians to condemn these, as we do.
As members of the Jewish community we recognise that Israel's
response is an inhumane and disproportionate collective punishment prohibited under international law. We also condemn the
long siege Israel has inflicted on the people of Gaza and call for this to be immediately lifted to allow food, medical supplies,
fuel, electricity and foreign aid to reach credible agencies in Gaza.
We call for an immediate ceasefire by both sides and lifting of
the siege of Gaza. We also recognise that Gaza's fate, in the minds of Palestinians and in reality, cannot be severed from
the West Bank and that ending the occupation in the West Bank is a critical part of resolving tensions in the region.
Reaching a negotiated settlement between Israelis and Palestinians
is an extremely difficult challenge as it is and the attack on Gaza moves us further away from this goal. We also call on
the Jewish Board of Deputies not to exacerbate local tensions with statements that demonstrate a lack of compassion for Palestinian
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