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Is it time to go?

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I sit here staring at my suitcase, contemplating whether it’s time to leave the only home I’ve ever known. I imagine my ancestors, in the frigid cold of Lithuania, a mere 100 years ago, looking at the red flags of a rising tide of Jew hatred and wondering the exact same thing. Everything has an expiry stamp, and South Africa is looking like we’re fast approaching the “best before date”.

A year ago, an American Jewish non-governmental organisation visited South Africa to see whether it should begin planning a mass evacuation for South African Jewry. I laughed it off. I feel a little foolish about that now.

For Jews, this country no longer feels like a safe space or “home”. The government has been captured by radical Islamists and their sympathisers. We have normalised Jew hatred and justified massacres. Our country has lost its soul, and it’s time for our community to start a real and honest discussion about its future.

As a former anti-apartheid activist, the founder of the Jewish anti-apartheid movement, executive director of the Independent Electoral Commission, a cog in the president’s CR17 campaign, and involved in countless social and civic organisations, people have always held me personally responsible for the abundant failures of our government. But I also became the sounding board for many anxious families trying to navigate a very uncertain future.

Over the years, scores of people have asked me whether I believed South Africa held a viable future for them and their children. I always answered with a standard boilerplate reply, “No-one can tell you what to do, it’s a very personal decision, but for me, South Africa is and will always be my home, a place with a Jewish community, more engaged, more vibrant than anywhere else in the world.”

Many of those I counselled decided that South Africa didn’t offer them an attractive future and landed up as strangers in the plasticity of the United States, the tundra of Canada, the misery of London, the bareness of Australia, the obscurity of New Zealand, and more recently, the damp of Amsterdam. Many went back to claim their birth right in Israel, learning how to do their own laundry. True, many also became tax refugees, sipping wine from Franschhoek in their Tel Aviv penthouses, with a view of the Mediterranean.

Today, the South African Jewish community numbers but one third of what it did at its peak. Though our numbers have shrunk, the vibrancy of our community has remained intact.

In the 1970s and 1980s they used to joke, “When the Jews go; it’s time to leave, when the Portuguese go; it’s too late.”

The clock ticked, and stopped on 7 October 2023.

The behaviour of the South African government was nothing short of betrayal. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s failure to condemn the 7 October massacre; his failure to reach out to the families of the two South Africans massacred in the Hamas genocide; his failure to act on the two South Africans kidnapped by Hamas; and his smirk blame of Israel for deserving the attack two weeks after the massacre, while wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh, will forever be a symbol of his Judas moment.

In American politics, they talk of a “tortoise on a lamppost”. Sometimes, the tortoise mistakenly believes that it got onto the lamppost by itself.

Ramaphosa’s spineless leadership has allowed his jihadist foreign minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, and her mujahidin director general, Zane Dangor, to direct foreign policy without intervention. Pandor mislead Parliament by claiming that there were no beheadings of babies and that Israel had attacked the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital. With no South African diplomats in Israel and Al Jazeera as her only source of information, Pandor meanders in the dark. Her ignorance, however, is self-inflicted. Her department was invited to view the 47-minute video of Hamas-captured atrocities, and declined to attend.

Hamas informs us that Pandor telephoned it to congratulate it on the success of its “Al-Aqsa Flood” attack on Israel. Pandor claimed that she was merely offering humanitarian assistance, but refused to release the “call-out” transcript of the conversation. As a convert to Islam, Pandor uses her own zealotry to pursue a pro-Hamas agenda to the detriment of South Africa.

In December, Hamas visited South Africa, was feted in our Parliament, and celebrated in the African National Congress’ (ANC’s) offices in Johannesburg. When Ramaphosa finally met the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, he sprinted to issue a statement and later, while meeting the Muslim community, stated that they had issued a statement as “we’re concerned there are distortions”. Given that the president’s statement was issued first, this both makes no logical sense and effectively paints the official representative body of Jews in South Africa as liars.

It’s a clash of civilizations. Jews have traditionally ascribed to the values of Western liberal democracy. In the ANC’s hard-left, revolutionary world view, Western interests must be opposed everywhere – in Ukraine, in Morocco, and in Israel. South Africa believes that it must be the vanguard liberation movement celebrating the imagined successes of Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and Russia. Pandor is currently attending the 7th Africa-Cuba Solidarity Conference in White River.

But actions have consequences. The West is becoming increasingly disenchanted by South Africa’s antics. Last year, South Africa’s invitation to the G7 Summit didn’t materialise, and the currency has lost 50% of its value under Ramaphosa. The renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act looks increasingly precarious together with the approximately 250 000 jobs it created. South Africa is increasingly isolated from those countries which could help it the most.

Ramaphosa had a choice to turn South Africa into a Singapore or a Sudan. He chose Sudan.

But the final straw for many has been the sacking of David Teeger as captain of the South Africa Under-19 cricket team. By even Cricket SA’s own account, Teeger did nothing wrong, but his presence as a Jew and Zionist as captain of the junior Proteas became untenable for it in case it would become a flashpoint for violent pro-Palestinian protests.

Effectively, the decision by Cricket SA means that no Jew could ever captain another South African sports team. Lawson Naidoo, the head of Cricket SA has effectively instructed Jewish South African sports people to “get into the closet”. His belief being, if you wish to play for us, hide your identity don’t tell anyone who you are or what you believe in, become the Marranos of South Africa.

Well Lawson got it wrong, we aren’t those Jews. His racist bigotry will forever haunt him.

South Africa today stands on trial, its belief that it can sacrifice its Jewish community on the altar of its own political expediency is laid bare before us.

As a community, we need some urgent dialogue about the red lines that have been crossed and whether South Africa still affords us the opportunity to live as free Jews in a society where we’re equals. Regrettably, it’s the question from which we can no longer hide.

As a community, we’ve contributed far more to South Africa than we’ve received, and if South Africa doesn’t realise that now, it will be too late.

  • Howard Sackstein is chairperson of the SA Jewish Report.

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  1. Butch van Blerk

    Jan 18, 2024 at 12:58 pm

    the same issue/question actually applies to all Indian, Coloured and white South Africans – whether to stay or not? the anc is hostile towards all non blacks

    • Trevor Fletcher

      Jan 19, 2024 at 11:38 pm

      Your problem is that your views are severely maligned. This is NOT about hatred of Jews. Ireland is a bigger support of Palestinian rights which have been violated by the ISRAELI GOVERNMENT APARTHEID IDEOLOGY. Jews are not packing their bags and blaming the Dail and government.
      Why in SA, is it a racial issue?
      There are millions of Jews in this world that are apposed to the ISRAELI GOVERNMENT APARTHEID IDEOLOGY
      Any person (incl Jews) that sides with ISRAELI GOVERNMENT APARTHEID IDEOLOGY may very rightly not be liked.
      Perhaps if you just fell in line with the world’s moral compass on human rights and civil liberties for the indigenous Palestinians that have been corralled into seized and sadistic control over occupied territories and refugee camps for 75 years, then perhaps your situation may change and your mental health improve!
      This is not a Jewish Hate thing.

      • Britz

        Jan 22, 2024 at 9:52 am

        The anc like to play the apartheid card have nothing els to complain about only to blame them selfs for been racist a mafia anc government and destroyed a once well looked after south Africa

    • Steve Marks

      Jan 20, 2024 at 10:32 am

      Not even remotely the same comparison can be made.
      You would understand if you had skin in the game

    • Steve Marks

      Jan 20, 2024 at 10:37 am

      Other SA’s do not have remotely the same predicament that SA Jews face.
      You would understand if you had skin in the game.

  2. Lance

    Jan 18, 2024 at 1:24 pm

    Brilliant article Howard, hits home & painfully at that.

    • Adele Winston

      Jan 21, 2024 at 1:31 pm

      Why ‘the misery of London’?

  3. Yaakov Coetzee

    Jan 18, 2024 at 1:41 pm

    Thanks Howard, as a Jew I am glad to still have people like you in South Africa. We are the ones who have to remain here, since we do not have the means to go anywhere, but trust that HaShem will protect us. Baruch HaShem.

    • Karin Chewins

      Jan 18, 2024 at 9:33 pm

      I am not Jewish, I stand for Isreal & all The Jewish people in this world. This is not my government & will never been, there are so many of us (South Africans) who stand with our Jewish friends🙏🏼🇮🇱

      • Schlomo Skinstein

        Jan 20, 2024 at 5:56 pm

        Lmao supported anti-apartheid and now doesn’t feel safe. Consequences of your own actions. Crying out in pain as they strike you.

      • Walter De Bruin

        Feb 1, 2024 at 4:17 am

        I most definitely support Israel 100%. I am vocal about it. If Israel do not have a right to exist, who on earth has the right then?
        As far as SA is concerned, I’ve left 30 years ago and now live in Canada. I’ve never regretted it for a moment.
        However, everyone’s circumstances are different and therefore everyone must decide where you want to take your chances. For those of you who decided to stay in SA, may God bless and protect you. 🇮🇱

    • B

      Jan 19, 2024 at 3:14 pm

      @Yaakov FYI you can return to Isreal if you are a Jew under Israel’s Law of Return. Upon successful application citizenship is granted.

    • G Mitchell

      Jan 19, 2024 at 4:27 pm

      I am not Jewish, but feel that this is such a good piece, thank you. Be assured this is not support for Hammas is not the view, opinion or choice of the VAST majority og Christian peopl in this country of whatever hue!

      The uncritical support that has been purchsed by the perveyor of terror Iran is shameful. Forgive the silent South Africans, and be sure the G_d of Abraham Issac and Jacob, has seen this many times and He remains Lord and you his people are still here to the great frustration of those wish you away!

      Shabbat Shalom

    • Eli

      Jan 19, 2024 at 8:28 pm

      Don’t put too much fate on Hashem!
      It did not help much when really needed, those who moved stayed alive, those who sit perished!
      History should be good lesson for Jews!

      • Makava

        Jan 21, 2024 at 7:24 am

        And yet they never learn, I left 25 years ago with nothing and started again, it was really hard for the first 5 years but I was not going to see any more harm come to my children, one episode was more than enough.

        Since leaving, every single member of my family that is left in the SA hovel have suffered violence and harm to the point of some dying at the hands of black on white violence in SA, I am a Jew married to a Dutch decedent who came from farm stock in the Free State, Eastern and Northern Transvall and the Lowveld, more than half of her family have been wiped out or have been driven off of their farms by violence, please don’t sugarcoat what is actually going on in South Africa, by doing that you become an enabler and continue to allow the slaughter of the non black civilian population.

        Eli is right, Hashem is not coming to help you, that duty is yours and yours alone, remaining in SA as a tax payer and contributor to the ANC makes you an enabler of one of the most evil and corrupt regimes on the planet, and that is not what you want for your children or your grand children, the time to leave was in 1992, you have left it 32 years to long, do it now while you still can as in a few more years it will become your biggest regret have you not done so.

  4. Yaakov Coetzee

    Jan 18, 2024 at 1:43 pm

    Keep up the good work Howard

    • john Coetzee

      Jan 18, 2024 at 7:14 pm

      So very true!

    • Sharon Zeidel

      Jan 21, 2024 at 4:43 pm

      Brilliant article Howard. Also enjoy your Webinars.

  5. Rosh

    Jan 18, 2024 at 2:52 pm

    Really insightful article Howie. We miss you all. For anyone wondering where to go, if you go, Melbourne has been wonderful to us in the few months we have been here. the Jewish community have opened their hearts. It’s a great city, good people, and a wonderful place to be. Hardly a day goes by where I dont take a deep breath on a walk or cycle to the beach and think to myself that it’s a privilege and pleasure to be here.

  6. Ashley

    Jan 18, 2024 at 3:17 pm

    Excellent article Howard. Tragic and heartbreaking times. Cry, the Beloved Country. 😔

  7. Sid Peimer

    Jan 18, 2024 at 3:17 pm


    I would like to welcome Iran as the new owners of South Africa.

    With the ANC’s impending liquidation, which would exclude them from elections, this purchase makes absolute sense for all parties concerned. Besides Iran getting a great deal with a weak rand, it also gives them a strong foothold in a country that has no problem aligning with gangsters, fanatics and dictators – yet still manages to retain its image as an ethical proponent of humanism. Also, fortunately for Iran, the ANC stokes the fire of selective racism towards the Jews whom are positioned as purveyors of the evils of apartheid and thus receive the suspended venom as proxy for the unresolved racial issues that still remain in South Africa.

    For the ANC, there were some short-term gains as well. Firstly they could settle the R100 million outstanding account threatening their liquidation, and then embark on the exceptionally expensive campaign starting with the ICJ to label Israel as proponents of genocide. As there is a wide array of judges who act in their personal capacity, and must justify their decision, the chances of the judgement going in favour of South Africa is similar to you and me winning the lottery. But that suits both parties: the narrative they will amplify is that “Israel got away with it”.

    Israel, although using its outmoded strategy of smashing anything that threatens it – has been no match for global sentiment created by the curated content of Hamas. If winning hearts and minds is the objective of war, unfortunately Hamas have succeeded. I use the term ‘unfortunately’, as they deny me the right to exist at all due to article 7 of the Hamas charter which essentially says: the Jews must die. So, in this case, its personal.

    The fallout is that the ANC has gained popular approval, increasing their chances of getting over 40% in the election. The last time this was accomplished was 1930’s Europe. The socioeconomics are similar: the electorate are disaffected, maligned and generally feel the world has robbed them of a better life. They need a reason; they need a villain. Amazing what good people can do when sold a narrative that explains their suffering.

    Our congratulations to Iran on their purchase and trust they will enjoy the hospitality of their new subjects.

    • Jacquie

      Feb 1, 2024 at 11:34 pm

      Don’t give up until the “fat lady has sung!” There are many South Africans of all classes and colours, who are fed up by the thieving, lying, endemically corrupt ANC government, who no longer represent them. The ANC, to accuse Israel of “genocide” at the International Court of Justice is the height of irony ! This from a government that has consistently looted and destroyed every parastatal, robbed every municipality, enriched themselves on others misery by a total lack of service delivery! Indeed, they have not contributed to a single constructive, proactive action to alleviate the abject poverty of a vast majority of their people. They are a disgrace and to then purport to be the moral mouthpiece of the World at the ICJ is ludicrous and crass and shows their complete lack of insight. That one needs to be aware of the civilian suffering in this tragic war is undeniable however for the ANC, one of the most unproductive corrupt governments in Africa, to be our moral mouthpiece is nothing short of ludicrous!

  8. T

    Jan 18, 2024 at 4:04 pm

    Thank you for a very informative article… something weighing so heavily on all of us… is there a way of finding out the name of the American Jewish non-governmental organisation and can the help us now?

  9. Pete

    Jan 18, 2024 at 5:02 pm

    This question of whether to remain or to leave sits heavily on the minds of most of us. I don’t think we would have ever envisioned such a conundrum akin to what our grandparents experienced in the years leading up to the holocaust. The author captures this sentiment well.

    It is clear to any person with an objective mind to see that the ANC has used this war in their favour. They seized on the opportunity to boost their standings in the polls before the upcoming election at a time when their popularity hit an all-time low. Of course, the ANC is allergic to producing better service delivery and accountable governance as they rather took a page out of the play book for autocracies. This bodes badly not only for the Jews in South Africa but also society at large. It is commonly known that the Jews are seen as the canary in the coal mine and when a society starts to lose the ability to safeguard its minority groups, by then the clock is ticking.

    We all know this and the feeling of upcoming doom (how else to put it?) that surrounds us is tangible. A key question focuses around how much of that very feeling is tolerable and to what point will the situation manifest itself into the dreaded pogrom. One can decry that the weekend marches hosted in Sea Point are practice runs while being acts of clear intimidation. Obviously, should a pogrom occur than it is already too late. The Jews of Europe in the 20’s and 30’s are a bold example. I will take this opportunity to add that for those of us who resided in Zaire and Rhodesia, the memory of such a precarious position is a little fresher (albeit not aimed at Jews in particular).

    I won’t pretend to know the answers as every person’s threshold is different but what I will recommend that as a communit we start to have serious discussions on a contingency plan. We don’t want to be caught out. We need to think of organization, coordination, and movement.

    • Dani

      Jan 19, 2024 at 2:52 pm

      What will 40 000 jews do? Maybe 10 000 able bodied jews do, the rest being elderly and young. South africa has been anti jewish for years but noone wanted to believe it, preferring to listen to the ultra wealthy jews who spoke to stay, while having property and sending their kids overseas to study. They will leave, already having had made their exit plans years ago. They misled the ones who had a chance, who no longer have it and will have to send their children overseas….

      • Carl

        Jan 21, 2024 at 12:51 am


        I made aliyah with my family in 1978. As a typical Joburg family, it was very, very tough. It doesn’t matter how much money and wealth you have, the adjustment to life outside your land of birth is a culture shock and test of endurance, love and family. It’s so,so hard.

        It doesn’t matter who you are; where you grew up or your material wealth, one doesn’t grow up imagining to leave their land of birth.

        Israel will take all 40,000 South Africans Jews, and anyone else who has at least one Jewish grandparent, irrespective of their age and medical condition.

        Israel airlifted Ethiopians and Yemenites to safety and hardly anyone was left behind. Israel took on 1 million Soviet Jews in the 1990’s. All have made lives for themselves.

        As South African Jews, we may struggle to compare ourselves to Yemenites, Ethiopians and Moroccans, but this is the reality.

        40,000 or more South Africans of Jewish decent will thrive in Israel. Having grown up in SA, we’re tough, resilient, English speaking and well integrated into western society.

        When South Africa loses their 40,000 remaining Jews, the place will collapse. Israel will gain those 40,000 who will thrive and be spoken about in years to come the same way SA’s Jews are spoken about now.

        As diaspora Jews, our social contract with Israel is we support the State, and the State is our refuge and home.

        That’s Israel’s reason for existing. That’s the way out of this mess.

  10. Hilary

    Jan 18, 2024 at 5:29 pm

    Yet this is not news as not new. For years SA under the racist anc has run after Iran and Hamas etc. For years the racist anc has been anti white in the extreme with BEE and AA laws etc preventing companies from hiring whites on merit. For years the racist anc has been encouraging or at least ignoring farm murders of mainly white folk. The latest being a ploy to prevent white farms from accessing water resources which is of course a universal human right. For years the anc has been an anti white racist anti Jewish group of thieving losers, with no respect for law or human rights. The path of theft and destruction is predictable. The wealthy leave or stay and enjoy their new big automobiles. The average white or Jewish person cannot go anywhere due to various factors, the exchange rate being one of them. Not a very pretty picture. The anc will forever be remembered as a black hole of negativity and willful destruction of civilized society.

  11. Aletta Vos

    Jan 18, 2024 at 5:48 pm

    Excellent article!

  12. Gavin Basserabie

    Jan 18, 2024 at 6:11 pm

    Howie sadly I think it only gets way worse if the EFF get more power

  13. Carole smollan

    Jan 18, 2024 at 7:15 pm


  14. Luka

    Jan 18, 2024 at 7:40 pm

    Yes, go a live on the land that has been stolen from Palestinians. Enjoy Gaza

    • B

      Jan 19, 2024 at 3:34 pm

      Please educate yourself.

      Jews were the recorded residents of what is now Israel long before WW2 ended, this is backed up by ancient Roman, Byzantium and even Greek texts; from the Seleucid and Alexander the Great eras.

      We can go even further with the Al-Yahudu tablets from the Babylonian Empire from the 5 century BC.

      You can find these answers with a basic Google search.

    • Sheila Novitz

      Jan 20, 2024 at 3:39 am

      Why the written attack on your own people? They did what was right for themselves. You could do it too, if you tried hard enough. Blaming others for your own dilemma is no way to get out of that vicious, threatening Republic of South Africa. Apply to be citizens of Israel, and work hard at it!

    • Steve Marks

      Jan 20, 2024 at 10:40 am

      There is no palestine and probably never will be a palestine until the moslems stop hating and killing Jews. Recognize Israel’s right to exist and then come talk, until then enjoy your gaza.

    • Israel advocate

      Jan 20, 2024 at 7:19 pm

      Luka, shut your mouth and stop trolling forums are civil communities like this one. Your antisemitic bile (refer to diction as I doubt you understand that word), is why South Africa has become a 4th world country.

      Enjoy your future under the ANC with a corrupt leadership and crumbling economy. A currency worth toilet paper.

  15. Dita Glassom

    Jan 18, 2024 at 10:11 pm

    Sad article to have to read. I lived in Israel, loved the people and the country and came home… I missed the pulse of Africa, the tapestry of vibrant colours and community, the bush, the open roads, the air. I am not rushing anywhere. I agree, it’s time to have these difficult conversations in our community. I will not cower in the face of antisemitism. The Jewish people said ‘Never Again’ I stand by that.

  16. Rahel

    Jan 18, 2024 at 11:29 pm

    If you value your lives and your material possessions, then I suggest you leave as soon as possible, before it’s too late. Why would you want to live in a country that is turning into 1939 Berlin?

  17. Derek Ziman

    Jan 19, 2024 at 2:36 am

    My heart really goes out to Jewish South Africans because I see no hope for any change. This young cricketer would be welcome in Australia and I would personally apply for the relevant visa. I’m afraid it’s time

    • Lawrence Roff

      Jan 22, 2024 at 2:18 pm

      Howard, I don’t think that this is a responsible piece.
      I get that you are despondent. We all are. However, the problem is not South Africa (which has its problems and is evolving new ones) but the current government.
      They have sold their souls, their principles and the well being of their citizens for a few Arab dollars.
      They are a vanguardist party for which democracy has only ever had a use value. . Super impose personal avarice and endemic corruption and you have a government that has snatched a proper fuck up from the jaws of victory. Yes, we feel betrayed.
      The non-sequitur is that because the ANC is bad SA Jews should forsake their communities, their families and the opportunities that abound here.
      There is still crazy value in the Jewish community here -even now – as well as in other communities in SA. It is what people know and it is where South African Jews are at their most empowered.
      P-G this government is breathing its last and it will be replaced with something that builds rather than dissipates and plunders.
      It it is the party and the government that is the problem rather than the country and the solution to these two problems is different.
      The travesty of the removal of David Teeger’s captaincy should not be sited as a “final straw.” As a condition that finally triggers the upending of a person or a family’s existence and history in SA, leaving them bereft of so much.
      Of course everyone is entitled to think as the like and leave when they choose.
      None the less, I think that as a thought leader you should be aware of your frame of mind and be circumspect in your suggestions.
      Leaving might be right for individuals but it leaves the community and each of its members diminished.

  18. Tom

    Jan 19, 2024 at 10:15 am

    Sounds like you were an eager supporter and contributor to the racist and leftist takeover of SA.

    Now you’re crocodile tears?

    You reap what you sow mate.

    And don’t worry. Those countries you list as beneath you don’t want your commie types. Stay in the mess you helped make .

  19. Dion Cohen

    Jan 19, 2024 at 10:32 am

    Great article Howard. For me, it is the first time I can understand how it must have been in Germany in the 1930s. All the white anti-apartheid activists were Jewish, thinking their contribution would be recognised in the conscious of the country. We must never think our contribution to society is anything but fleeting, except if it’s in Israel.

  20. Linda H

    Jan 19, 2024 at 10:51 am

    As a Christian who has come home from abroad, I stand with Israel. The Bible says who blesses Israel will be blessed and who curses Israel will be cursed. Israel are not at war with Palestinian people, they are retaliating against terrorist Hamas after years of onslaught and terrible recent atrocities.

    Again as a Christian, I see and believe what Biblical prophecy foretells and what it foretells makes the last Jewish holocaust look like a picnic. Anti-semitism will increase dramatically, worldwide. If I was a Jew, I’d make my way to Israel quickly. Not that you’ll be safe even there but at least you’ll have a chance of survival as a remnant.
    True Christians who refuse to go along with the coming world religion are next in line to be annihilated, along with Israel.

    May God be with you all.. the true Christian community worldwide are praying for you constantly, as we are told to do. Our Saviour was a Jew. We stand with Israel.

    • Moshe

      Jan 19, 2024 at 1:41 pm

      I suppose there is some truth to the comment of the bareness of Australia.

      Jewish numbers in Australia however long ago overtook South Africa’s, which reflects in the vibrancy in parts of Melbourne, Sydney and perhaps even Perth with outlier frontiers in the state of Queensland. And although there is admittedly an undercurrent of some support from far leftists of Hamas solidarity it’s never as malicious or as prevalent as in South Africa.

      Teeger, and others like him, would have a future in Australia and would be able to display their Jewishness openly. There are those of us who took the calculated risk to leave SA for it and although we do miss certain aspects of the South Africa we knew, some of that is already completely gone and more will follow as we have watched things crumble from afar.

      Bear in mind too that when Jews were instructed previously to be silent about their identity, worse inevitably followed through history. Whether slowly or rapidly.

      There is time left and there are paths out, but courage is necessary now and it’s better to choose the location of your next struggle than have it be forced onto you by others.

    • Lyn Glass

      Jan 19, 2024 at 3:10 pm

      O yes ! God is omnipotent and has the future in His hands ! I stand

      with Israel as a Christian and believe the prophesies of the Hebrew prophets in the bible !

  21. John Roodt

    Jan 19, 2024 at 1:28 pm

    You Lithuanian Jews are so infuriating. You’re welcomed into South Africa & allowed to live lives of privilege above those of your hosts. But what do you do? You undermine your gracious hosts and create a monster, the ANC, to destroy them.
    Now that monster has turned on you.
    At least you still have a country to go to. A “Jewish” State, with the world happy to grant you Bantustan-like “reservations” for the non-Jews. It makes me laugh (though not with mirth).
    7 October 2023 was dreadful. But in South Africa, thanks to you, such attacks are feared EVERY DAY — especially by our farmers.
    You should be happy that you still have somewhere to go that is a lot safer than South Africa (Israel can respond to 7 October 2023 attacks in 5 minutes if it chooses to). We no longer have our own army…thanks to you.
    Does Israel need the US, Canada, UK, EU etc. to survive? I hope not, because they’ve all been severely undermined too

    • Dani

      Jan 19, 2024 at 3:00 pm

      You going to blame Jews for the ANC? That is lazy and typical. The mirror is your Oracle. The world rose up against apartheid, it was not 100 000 jews dismantling it. I do feel for afrikaners and especially the boere getting massacred. This is not a competition. Both are savage. Yes jews can flee, but so can afrikaners…. many are….. what will blaming Jews help you? Time to learn islam mate….

    • Stephanie

      Jan 19, 2024 at 8:29 pm


    • Gavin Smits dorp

      Jan 20, 2024 at 10:19 pm

      so many generalizations in one paragraph!

  22. Gregory Werner

    Jan 19, 2024 at 2:52 pm

    Open letter

    Re: Is it time to go?

    Jan 19, 2024

    By Gregory Werner

    Dear Mr. Sackstein,

    I appreciate your candid commentary, and I respect your courage to stand up and speak your mind. However, I also believe that courage requires listening to other perspectives, even if they challenge our own. That is why I decided to write this response to your piece, “Is it time to go?”

    First of all, I share your concern for the safety and well-being of the South African Jewish community, especially in light of the recent events. The brutal attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, 2023, which killed over 1,200 Israelis and injured more than 1,500 , was a horrific act of terror that shocked and saddened the world. I condemn this attack in the strongest terms, and I stand in solidarity with the victims and their families.

    However, I also urge you to consider the plight of the Palestinian people, who have been suffering under a brutal occupation, blockade, and siege for decades. The Palestinian population at the end of 2021 was about 14 million, of whom 5.3 million lived in the State of Palestine, 1.7 million in the 1948 territories, and nearly 7 million in the diaspora. The population of Gaza in 2023 was 5.4 million, with a growth rate of 2.31%. However, the Israeli blockade and repeated military assaults have created a humanitarian crisis, with 80% of the population dependent on aid, 50% unemployed, and 97% of the water unfit for human consumption. In October 2023, Israel launched a massive aerial and ground offensive against Gaza, killing more than 22,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and injuring more than 58,000. The attack also destroyed or damaged thousands of homes, schools, hospitals, and infrastructure. Israel also continues to violate the human rights of Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, through illegal settlement expansion, land confiscation, home demolitions, arbitrary arrests, torture, and restrictions on movement and access. The Palestinian minority in Israel, which makes up 20% of the population, faces systemic discrimination, violence, and hate speech, especially during times of conflict. They are denied equal rights and opportunities in education, health, employment, and political representation.

    These are not mere statistics, but the harsh realities of millions of human beings who deserve dignity, justice, and peace. I do not condone violence from any side, but I also do not ignore the root causes of the conflict and the power imbalance between the parties. I believe that the only way to achieve a lasting solution is through dialogue, negotiation, and mutual recognition, based on international law and human rights.

    Secondly, I acknowledge that the South African government has made some serious mistakes and failures, and that it needs to be held accountable and reformed. However, I disagree with your portrayal of the entire nation as a failed state, on the verge of collapse. South Africa is a complex and diverse country, with a rich history and culture, and a vibrant civil society. It is a country of many voices, not all of which agree with the government or each other. You have amplified one such voice, and while it is important, it is not the only one.

    The situation you describe is indeed alarming, but it is not hopeless. South Africa has faced many challenges and crises before, and it has overcome them with courage and resilience. The analogy of the tortoise on the lamppost is a clever one, but it is also misleading. It implies that the tortoise has no agency, no responsibility, and no support. It also implies that the observers have no stake, no influence, and no role. This is far from the truth. The tortoise did not climb there alone, and it won’t descend alone either. It is part of a collective, a democracy, a society. And so are we.

    The choice you present between Singapore and Sudan is a stark one, but it is also a false one. South Africa is neither, and it need not be. It is a unique nation with its own trajectory, challenges, and potential. It is a nation that has achieved remarkable feats, such as ending apartheid, hosting the World Cup, and producing Nobel laureates. It is also a nation that still struggles with poverty, inequality, and corruption. It is a nation that needs to confront its past, address its present, and envision its future.

    The injustice faced by David Teeger is indeed a cause for concern. But it is not a reason to give up. It is a reason to fight back, to demand justice, to seek change. It is a reason to join forces with others who share the same vision, the same values, the same hopes. It is a reason to engage, not to disengage.

    Finally, I agree with your call for honest dialogue. After all, it is in the crucible of discourse that the strongest solutions are forged. But let us not forget that the dialogue must be inclusive, not exclusive, constructive, not destructive. It must be based on facts, not myths, on empathy, not fear, on respect, not contempt.

    South Africa is a nation in flux, grappling with its past and striving toward an uncertain future. It is not perfect, but then again, no nation is. As you contemplate whether it’s time to leave, remember that the decision is as personal as the connection you feel to your home.

    The dialogue you call for is indeed urgent. But let it not be a dialogue of despair, but of hope. Let it not be a dialogue of division, but of unity.

    Yours sincerely,

    • Errol Price

      Jan 19, 2024 at 9:29 pm

      The writer of this comment has unfortunately engaged in a long excursus which is unfortunately entirely irrelevant to the topic in issue.
      Yes, there are statements in the article above that one can take issue with and yes no human being can fail to commiserate with the suffering of civilians in Gaza.
      The real point is that Jewish communities around the world are now in crisis and for some communities this is an existential one.
      As acute political observers have pointed out a distinct global divide is opening up between the traditional wealthy western countries and rivals led by China,Russia,Brazil and others. South Africa is with the latter group.The question is how the relatively small Jewish community can view its future in the light of manifold pressures.
      This calls for realism not the kind of excruciating banality of Mr Werner’s concluding paragraph.

  23. Dani

    Jan 19, 2024 at 2:55 pm

    What will 40 000 jews do? Maybe 10 000 able bodied jews do, the rest being elderly and young. South africa has been anti jewish for years but noone wanted to believe it, preferring to listen to the ultra wealthy jews who spoke to stay, while having property and sending their kids overseas to study. They will leave, already having had made their exit plans years ago. They misled the ones who had a chance, who no longer have it and will have to send their children overseas….

  24. Guy

    Jan 19, 2024 at 4:57 pm

    For those who’d like to hear Howie’s interview with me, well before October 7th but very aligned with his message, have a listen:

  25. Ari

    Jan 20, 2024 at 12:30 am

    I would encourage all the Jewish Community to leave SA as aoon as possible. The country ia sliding into “failed state”
    status. It will be only a matter of time before there are physical attacks on Jews and their institutions. The Rand will continue to
    Depreciate and the economic situation will worsen. The sunny skies over the beautiful Joburg and Cape Town suburbs are a fools paradise……

  26. Steve Marks

    Jan 20, 2024 at 10:35 am

    Time to go
    South African citizenship is an embarrassment

  27. Johannes

    Jan 20, 2024 at 1:26 pm

    White South African citizens warned the world about the ANC Government for three decades, but they did not listen – the world literally kissed the ground that the ANC Government walked on.

  28. Charles Maisel

    Jan 20, 2024 at 2:10 pm

    Like Mr Sackstein I also am an apartheid activist and a person who works to make South Africa a better place. However I need to make a few comments on this article as frankly its baseless and borders on the absurd. He speaks about Jew hatred and antisemitism in South Africa. I would love him to give me one case from anyone he knows or he himself who has experienced anti-semitism in South Africa. I think we know the answer. He like other jewish commentators continoulsy conflate anti-zionism with anti-semitism. In the case of SA, my country whom I am so proud of are anti-zionism not anti-semitic. To call our president whom I know personally an anti-semite is a slap in the face of a man whom I know is not! He speaks about Jews expiry date in SA. This is so rich as jews being white benefitted from apartheid and extracted wealth on the backs of black people and now you want to leave? Frankly there are more red flags of antisemitism in Europe than here. When you talk about organising a mass evacuation I actually had to laugh. You think all jews are going to live in Israel. LOL. Maybe the Australians will take you. Bizarre! On the racism issue my experience with Jews in SA are some of the worst racists I have ever met. If you want proof I have it. Also a point to remember is that Israel supported the Apartheid government completely. I wonder why? I don’t think our leaders have forgotten that! As a purported activist you should understand oppression and the brutality of that but it doesn’t sound like you do. In SA we should never forget that type of brutal oppression and unfortunately the majority of jews were and still are complicit in SA. Lest we forget imprisoning people without trial (sound familiar), stealing their land (sound familiar), Limiting economic activity (sound familiar).

  29. David Olesker

    Jan 20, 2024 at 9:45 pm

    It can be plausibly maintained that the current SA government towards Jews and Israel is not motivated by antisemitism. However, at a certain point indifference to antisemitism becomes functionally identical to actual Jew hatred. If that point has not already been reached in South Africa it is indubitably just around the corner. As someone who has visited the South African community, both under apartheid and since majority rule, I would strongly advise you to pack that bag immediately.

  30. Cindy Glickman

    Jan 20, 2024 at 10:57 pm

    Dear fellow Jews in South Africa
    I think Howard has summed things up very well and very clearly.
    We made aliyah around 20 years ago from South Africa. Baruch H-shem, since then, without losing any patriotism for SA, our lives have only improved 100 times over. WE have only gained, grown, matured, connected more to H-shem, and even learnt to do our own housework,(when the cleaner doesn’t come).
    We are here to welcome you, hold your hands through the all the steps and watch you also blossom into the best people that you can be.
    Shalom Aleichem

  31. Hesky

    Jan 21, 2024 at 2:14 am

    Lol, Good bye.

  32. Homesick

    Jan 21, 2024 at 5:16 am

    From somebody who has left my heart wishes in many ways I could have stayed. I miss the familiariaties of my world I grew up in. I miss my friends, family, kosher shops, the Jewish community, the warm vibe, the weather and so much more.
    The one thing I miss most is being known. In SA I was a person. People cared to ask how I am. In my new county I am a number.

    One thing I have learnt a warm smile is so appreciated from a stranger. For no reason. Just because it is kind and costs nothing.

  33. Gary Meyers

    Jan 24, 2024 at 5:03 pm

    Right. Behind you sir , I hope you set a fine example and leave as jews here in SA need people to set a good example by leaving first, the time to leave or fight back was when leaders were imprisoned and murdered , now is the time to pull together and solidify a better future in SA , we have major issues in Melbourne, Sydney and other countries .
    I may offer this , perhaps it’s time to rally and build on this great Country .
    The problem is the government , not the beautiful people of this land , same as the problem during apartheid

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