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The Jewish Report Editorial

Don’t let haters get their way

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There are bad people in this world, but there are far more good people around. There are also those who go off the deep end and perpetrate crimes, even murder. This isn’t news in a country with a ridiculously high crime rate. Truth is, just like any community in this country, Jewish people aren’t absolved from committing crime. It does happen.

However, it’s racist and hateful to tar the entire community with the same brush as someone arrested for murder. More than that, it’s intolerable to use a crime that one person may have committed to inspire violence and hatred towards an entire community. This is exactly what our haters are doing right now. It is reprehensible in the extreme.

I’m speaking of the horrendous attack on Halima Hoosen-Preston and her family in Durban, in which this Muslim mother was murdered, and her husband and child stabbed, allegedly by a Jewish man. This tragedy being bandied around as a hate crime to do with Israel and Palestinians is a horrific murder allegedly perpetrated by a man whose estranged wife was close friends with Hoosen-Preston. This is a heinous crime. It’s totally unforgiveable, and needs to be judged appropriately in a court of law. If the man is guilty, he should be given the maximum sentence, no questions asked. Murder is murder.

However, whatever was going on in his head and caused this to happen didn’t have anything to do with the Jewish community. Whatever his reasons, it wasn’t something that was acceptable to us or agreed upon by us. He was 100% a lone ranger in what he did. He’s also a man known to be schizophrenic, bipolar, and to have a substance-abuse problem, according to court submissions.

As most people are aware, South African Jews aren’t violent, and we don’t want to be at war with anyone. It’s painful enough for us knowing that our brethren in Israel are at war, but here, we’re not at war with the Muslim community or any other community.

Those who are building this murder up to be about the war between Israel and Hamas are committing a massive hate crime. It must stop now!

This crime isn’t about Muslims and Jews. This is a horrific attack perpetrated by a murderer, not someone advocating for others.

Even the family of the man arrested has distanced themselves from him, vowing not to pay for his defence. If even his family isn’t coming to his defence, surely this is reason enough to see that this isn’t about politics?

There’s enough distress in our country, our communities, and our world without constructing a fake battle that isn’t happening.

People like some of those in Africa 4 Palestine, the Economic Freedom Fighters, and the Al Jama-ah party that have turned this into a hate crime are criminal in their intent. They are pushing for violence, which is unconscionable. There seems to be some kind of glee in turning this into something about Israel and the Palestinians to stoke a fire that our community leaders are trying hard to ensure doesn’t ignite. It could lead to further tragedies.

Let’s put a lid on this now! This murder is tragic enough, we don’t need any more violence. We need to be sensible, calm, and rational on all sides. We need to bring to a halt all the hate speech about this on social media.

Though we acknowledge that people have taken sides on the war between Israel and Hamas, Jews and Muslims have lived side by side in South Africa, and continue to do so.

In most suburbs where Jews live, Muslims live, and vice versa. We go to the same shopping centres, gyms, hang out at the same coffee shops. There’s no hatred or bloodthirstiness for each other. Ultimately, we’re brethren. So, please don’t allow those who actually have made it their business to hate to turn Muslims against Jews, and vice versa. We aren’t those people, and we mustn’t become them.

Last week, our country held the most incredible election. It was democracy at its best. We don’t know what the future brings. We have no choice but to trust that the horse trading that’s happening between political parties will bring the results we South Africans want.

What we don’t need is hot headedness, people being impulsive or foolish in any area of South Africa. We need to stay calm and level headed, moving forward day by day without distress.

It doesn’t take much to put a spark to the various tinderboxes that exist in our country and world.

We’re sitting on a knife edge, and need to find the calm and positivity to get us through to the other side where there’s clarity for our future and peace. We don’t know whether the African National Congress (ANC) will jump into bed with former President Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe party or cosy up to the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Inkatha Freedom Party. Those are just two iterations which would bring two extremes in terms of our future.

Zuma is making threats and using interesting strategies to force his way back into ruling the country. Many of these are threats of violence. My hope is that sense will prevail, and the ANC will join hands with the DA and take our country forward.

I do believe most South Africans want the same thing, something only a party like the DA can bring home. We all want a growing economy, jobs for the jobless, investment, food on people’s tables, a good education for our children, and peace and stability. It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, so here’s hoping sense prevails in the microcosm and macrocosm.

Shabbat Shalom and chag Shavuot sameach!

Peta Krost

Editor

We won’t be publishing next week as it’s Shavuot. We’ll be back on 20 June.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Gary

    Jun 6, 2024 at 4:27 pm

    Peta you say of the Muslims ”Ultimately we brethren” Speak for yourself. I am a Jews and the Muslims are not my brethren.

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