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Is there any truth in the Woolies anti-Israel rumour?



Joane Frank

This naturally upset me and I called the Woolworths loyalty card department to ask them what their records reflect that I spend. 

I didn’t hear the name of the person who took my call, but he happily stated that my average spend is some R8 000 per year. This was then the amount, I informed him, that I will no longer be spending. 

I stated that I have been shopping at Woolworths for over 30 years and if it is indeed true that Woolworths will no longer stock Israeli goods, then I will return my loyalty card and never set foot in the store again. 

Now I may not have the conversation word perfect because I wasn’t taking notes, but the following was clear: the Woolworths man on the phone spoke with knowledge of the issue and responded that Israeli goods only made up about one per cent of Woolworths stock and that Woolworths was considering its position. Considering the position?  

Does this mean that Woolworths is just contemplating not stocking Israeli goods? And why? My daughter called the Woolworths Customer Service line to be told that the issue was “under review” which infers a decision has already been taken or that they are indeed contemplating such a decision. 

Following my inquiries to the Chevrah Kadisha, Tania at the Chev called me back to say she had spoken to a Woolworths “PR” at the head office who said this was all just a rumour.

Well was it? As ChaiFM had broadcast the news, I assumed this wasn’t just a rumour and requested their comment.  

Kathy Kaler responded that she spoke to the head of Woolworths marketing who put her on to the Woolworths media liaison who confirmed that in fact Woolworths would no longer be stocking produce from Israel and that they might overturn this (decision) when they saw the reaction from the community, but as it stood,, there was no Israeli products in their stores.

I’m still not shopping at Woolworths anymore until I hear the company’s satisfactory stance on the matter, especially in view of the overt hostilities being expressed towards the Jewish community during this latest Israeli ordeal. 

Whether we hear it as crude threats or masterful public relations, we should take care to understand the underlying sentiment.

There are a growing number of distressing anecdotes about local commercial entities who are now refusing to sell or give services to Jews. Could the Jewish Report encourage members of the community to report these incidents for publication so that the safety implications could register on the communal scale? 

This would also help give the lie to the “We’re-not-anti-Semitic, we’re-only-anti-Israel” agenda.


Killarney, Johannesburg


We are following up this rumour and will keep our readers up-to-date. – Editor

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  1. Aisha

    Oct 26, 2023 at 7:55 pm

    Israel products shouldnt be sold at Woolworths. They should not stand with a zionist regime. I have nothing agains Jews but i do have something against an Apartheid state!

    • Wadia

      Nov 17, 2023 at 12:04 am

      Yes and furthermore….what is R8000 a year ….doesn’t buy you a ticket to entitlement woman.

      • Jo

        Nov 17, 2023 at 8:44 am

        How many products are Israeli? Can’t be many. The entire war is despicable

  2. Ferzana

    Nov 2, 2023 at 9:17 pm

    All due respect. Return your loyalty card, apply for a ‘compassion’ card instead. Let the children of Palestine be remembered as victims of a cruel society. I too shop at woolworths, spending far more than I’d care to mention. No more!.. This store has proved too many times why I should rather support other retailers. #Free Palestine

  3. Medlina

    Nov 13, 2023 at 4:35 pm

    The Jewish community should not be disheartened or agitated by the fact that Israel produces goods that support an apartheid state. I hold great reverence for the Jewish faith and its noble followers, although I do not share the same sentiment towards the Zionist state. I firmly believe in love and freedom for all individuals, irrespective of their chosen faith.

    • Gail

      Nov 25, 2023 at 2:15 pm

      All Jews believe in love and value life over death something Islam does not. How do you negotiate with a terrorist organisation that believes in the destruction of Israel… shame on you. These are not children they terrorists just because they are under 18years old and carry a gun don’t think they innocent they are the worst.

  4. NAT

    Nov 16, 2023 at 6:50 pm

    amazing that ignorant full of hatred pro Palestinian people over here are the only one who comment on this jewish newspaper. Ignorant because I bet you that they know nothing about the Israel Palestinian conflict, they definitely don’t know that the Hamas slogan “from the river to the sea – Palestine shall be free” means the alienation of the jewish state and they have the chick to talk about apartheid state – disgusting.

    • Ann Lynn Haslam

      Nov 16, 2023 at 8:52 pm

      It may interest you to know that WOOLWORTHS was originally MARKS & SPENCER, a United Kingdom Store. They opened a store in Johannesburg. It was run by a Jew. Marks and Spencer was a Jewish Company. I am not sure when the transition took place to Woolworths as it is now or when and where or even if the Jewish connection was broken.

      • David Sieff

        Nov 17, 2023 at 12:02 pm

        Marks and Spencer started a Woolworths affiliate in the USA only, but later sold it, and I think that it eventually closed.
        Samuel Marks was the brother-in-law of Israel Sieff, my second?/third? cousin,later Lord Sieff, the founders of the famous high street stores’ chain.

      • Nadine Taylor

        Nov 17, 2023 at 12:08 pm

        Genesis 12:3 God says I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse. His words, precepts, statues, judgements, laws, commandments are righteous and true. It a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. Hebrews 20:31 The flags flew in June Leviticus 18 those who know God’s law withdrew from shopping at Woolworths. Once again those who walk in His ways will not enter the Woolworths Stores.

  5. Heinrich Louw

    Nov 16, 2023 at 9:49 pm

    It is such a shama that our govt is supporting Hamas Terrorists. I will definitely not support Woolworth due to the CEO statement that Woolworths will no longer stock Israeli products. May God protect us and the Jews against the Anti Semitic movement. Hope the #boycottwoolworths will continue. I stand with Israel


      Nov 17, 2023 at 8:31 am

      Woolworths remove Israeli products during periods of war and go back to selling thereafter, there is no consistency in their stance with regards to Israel.

    • Leni

      Nov 22, 2023 at 3:09 pm

      Agree, I will no longer shop at Woolworth for very same reason. Not supporting Hamas!

  6. Imaan

    Nov 17, 2023 at 7:51 am

    I commend Woolworths for taking Israeli products off their shelves. In South Africa, we have no place or tolerance for people partaking in and supporting a genocide. Your R8000 won’t hurt Woolworths, because we will all support Woolworths because of their geopolitical stance

  7. Karen Meyer

    Nov 17, 2023 at 8:37 am

    why not remove the Palestinian products too not everyone is blameless so who is more wrong just a thought at the end of the day innocent lives have been taken on both sides. But to pull Israeli products off the shelf is that really proving a point

    • Hannah Karpes

      Nov 17, 2023 at 10:53 am

      What Palestinian products are you referring to??????? Please can you elaborate on these “products”???????)

  8. Xenon

    Nov 17, 2023 at 10:18 am

    Such ignorance, this “R8000” woman is certainly NOT going to be the only one withdrawing her custom, Woolies stand to lose billions. Ask DISCHEM how well it went with their “no Whites” policy…or Bud Light, or Nike….why can’t retail giants grow some backbone and NOT cave in to political demands from radicals ? Hoping that Woolies take a huge knock for being spineless.

  9. Hannah Karpes

    Nov 17, 2023 at 10:48 am

    The Late great Rebbe said that South Africa will be good for the Jewish People……hmmm I can’t see this happening in my lifetime or my friends grandchildren! Thankfully my children and grandchildren are either in Israel and the USA.

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