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Rabbis, suspend your blessings

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In your February 16 issue, you reported that Rabbi Asher Deren blessed then president-elect Cyril Ramaphosa. And, in last week’s issue, you published an opinion piece by Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein which ends with a blessing for our newly elected president.
by Choni Davidowitz, Johannesburg | Mar 08, 2018

With these double blessings, one can only hope for a government that is divinely inspired to lead South Africa in a just manner.

However, any blessings bestowed on a leader will depend not only on how that person treats their compatriots, but also on how they treat the State of Israel.

The Torah states that G-d said to Abraham, after declaring that He would make him into a great nation in the land of Israel: “I will bless those who bless you, and those who curse you I will curse.” (Genesis 12: 2-3).

So, for anyone subject to G-d’s blessings, these will depend on how they treat the State of Israel. The last “blessing” given by South Africa to Israel was 70 years ago, when the government recognised the Independence of Israel at the United Nations. Since then, especially since the ANC came to power, there has been a barrage of anti-Israel rhetoric and consistent votes against that country at the UN. Yes, many other countries have also voted against Israel, but South Africa has welcomed those who openly despise the Jewish state. It started with former president Nelson Mandela’s warm embrace of then PLO president Yasser Arafat in 1994 and has continued with visits to South Africa by Hamas leaders.

These actions are a curse on the State of Israel. Do our Torah leaders really expect Hashem’s blessings? Rabbi Goldstein stated that we can pray for the welfare of our new president. And in last week’s SA Jewish Report, Rabbi Deren mentioned his mentor, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. I would remind the rabbi of former US president Jimmy Carter, who, during his term of office, received many blessings from the very same Lubavitcher Rebbe. Despite these blessings, Carter was, and is, anti-Israel.

I would suggest that all those rabbis who bless this government suspend their prayers until there is a change in attitude towards Israel. Looking at this week’s newspaper, this seems unlikely. If Ramaphosa cuts diplomatic ties with Israel, it will negate the blessings South Africa has had, and I fear for the future of our community.



1 Comment

  1. 1 LJ 08 Mar
    Yes Choni because nothing warms up anti Israel lobbies than putting curses on them. Do you think before you write these things or just wing it as you go along


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