Hostage billboard torn down at gunpoint
When thugs threatened a security guard at gunpoint on the night of 6 November before pulling down a Johannesburg billboard showing hostage Kfir Bibas, it wasn’t unlike the way Hamas terrorists took Israeli hostages on 7 October 2023.
However, Wendy Kahn, the national director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) says that what she has learned over the past four weeks is that “the majority of South Africans are appalled by what happened on 7 October and the fact that Hamas is holding the 240 civilians”.
“[The SAJBD] put up a billboard on 1 November to highlight the plight of the 240 civilian hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza. We wanted to make it clear that, contrary to the statements by Hamas in an interview on the SABC [South African Broadcasting Corporation], which claimed the hostages were ‘prisoners’ and ‘there are no child hostages’, and contrary to statements by the department of international relations and cooperation [Dirco] that the hostages are ‘soldiers and settlers’, these are 240 innocent civilians.
“These are people who were abducted from their homes by terrorists following their killing spree. The hostages aren’t a number, they are real people: babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, grannies, young women, and many others. We chose baby Kfir, who was nine months old when he was abducted, and is now 10 months old. A tenth of his life has been spent as a Hamas hostage.”
Yet, “two young thugs came in the dead of night to tear down the poster in an attempt to prevent people from knowing the truth about the brutality of Hamas as it interferes with their narrative. When a security guard attempted to stop them, they pulled a gun on him,” says Kahn.
“We say to these two Hamas supporters and Israel haters: we’ll not be silenced. We live in a constitutional democracy where we all have the right to our views and beliefs. Today [8 November] we’ll re-install the billboard, and we’ll continue to do this until baby Kfir and all of the civilian hostages are released and brought back to their families and loved ones. We’ll continue to light up the Johannesburg skyline with an Israeli flag on Ponte, we’ll continue to engage with South Africans on the Nelson Mandela Bridge with posters and balloons about the hostages, we’ll engage with the churches, and we’ll share the horror of the hostages on the Durban beachfront. We won’t be silenced. Our voices will become louder.
“The SAJBD has continued to express its sympathy for all the innocents suffering in this conflict, in Israel and in Gaza,” Kahn says. “Tearing down posters does nothing to help the situation. It just paints the offenders as thugs and criminals.”