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Israel is not exercising its power for peace

The call of the South African Jewish Voices for a Just Peace is for Israel to end the occupation and enter into genuine negotiation for a just peace. Some 105 former generals, retired commanders, police officers and Mossad chiefs have joined the call for Israel to negotiate in good faith[i].



Letters/Discussion Forums

Leonard Shapiro; Rina King; Jessica Sherman

Former President Shimon Peres made a similar appeal last week, saying: “It’s a shame that the only peace initiative was an Arab initiative. Where is the Israeli peace initiative?”

The tit-for-tat about who has killed more people, when and where, referred to in Gary Selikow’s letter in last week’s Jewish Report, is reprehensible. It is unacceptable that anybody dies or is killed, especially civilians.

As we experienced in South Africa, a true negotiation is possible. The consequences are unimaginable if FW de Klerk did not lead his government into negotiations. There was tremendous fear among white people at that time – remember how people stocked up with food?

We are currently seeing the horrors of the consequences of (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu not leading his government into negotiations. Instead, he obstructs peace by entrenching the occupation with land grabs, displacing people from their homes, building in occupied Jerusalem territory and not lifting the blockade on Gaza.

Nobody is saying that the situation is not complex. But Israel has the military and economic power to pursue negotiations for a just peace. And they are not exercising their power in that direction.


SA Jewish Voices for a Just Peace





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  1. Gary Selikow

    Nov 12, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    ‘How can Israel exercise its power for peace when the Palestinians have shown completely no interest in peace with Israel. They refuse to even recognize Israel’s right to exist They make unreasonable and unfair  demands that make a two state solution impossible by demanding that their state should be judenreihn while Israel must under the bizarrely called ‘right of return’ take in millions of descendants of Arabs who lived at one time or another in the British  Palestine Mandate-thus meaning the end of Israel.

    If the end game of the Palestinians is a one state solution then further talks are totally futile.

    Does JVJP even accept a two state solution-their allies in BDS do not!

    If the demand for a one state solution (or the right of return) became a reality, Jews would wait, huddled in their ghettos, to be massacred by the Arabs.

    YTilley and others who call for Israel’s replacement by a ‘unitary Palestine’ know full well that this would lead to a second Holocaust of Israel’s five million Jews.

    How well did the ‘unitary state ‘ work in Lebanon where hundreds of thousands of Christian Lebanese were massacred by the PLO and Syrians and went from being a majority in 1975 to a minority today? How well did the Animist and Christian Nilotic Blacks in Darfur and Southern Sudan fare in Sudan where millions have been massacred, or the Kurds in Iraq where 800 000 were butchered by Saddam Hussein?We all know how minorities fare in Arab countries and what makes anyone think the Jews in your suggested ‘unitary Palestine’ would fare any better, given the amount of hate in Palestinian society for Israel’s Jews.

    Why out of a massive landmass under Arab control , and a number of Arab states (today they number 22) it is regarded as such an injustice that a number of Arabs should be a minority in a Jewish State, where they enjoy full civil and political rights.

    Jewish statelessness had led to the slaughter of 6 million Jews during the holocaust.

    And yes it is right to point out Israeli casualties and murder of Israelis by terrorists as all measures of Israel to defend herself are demonized and we endlessly hear of Palestinian woes.

    Even a security fence in response to thousands of Israelis murdered is demonized , as if Jewish lives are not worth saving. Hence JVJP’s event on constitution hill called Breaking Down the Wall 

    The meaning of Israel is clear. The Jew has experienced too much death, and a portion of the Jewish people decided that they would die quietly no more (especially after Hitler’s Holocaust). So it is: and no argument, no clever political talk, no logic and no parading of right and wrong can change this fact.The Jews returned to Israel because it was their ancient land. From 1810 onwards, Jews in the Land of Israel have been murdered by Arabs. The pious Jews of Safed, who would raise no hand in their defense, were robbed and murdered and burned out again and again by Arabs – as where the Jews in Jerusalem and Tiberias. Bedouin Arabs passed through Land of Israel at will-and robbed and killed Jews for profit. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Arab feudal lords in the Land of Israel organized pogroms precisely as the Tsar had organized pogroms.

    In 1920 Jews where massacred by Arabs in Jerusalem, in 1921 in Jaffa and in 1929 in Hebron. Thousands of Jews where murdered in 1936 to 1939 in the Nazi inspired Arab Revolt. Since 1948 Arabs have launched wars against Israel to try to drive Jews into the sea and since Arafat launched the latest war in 2000, after rejecting a peace deal, thousands of Jewish men women and children have died in Israel by bomb, bullet and knife. Jews will never again be put into a position where they can be subjected to another Holocaust (particularly in the ancient Jewish homeland).

  2. Jill

    Nov 13, 2014 at 8:41 am

    ‘To the writers of this article:  With respect, are your eyes closed, or just your hearts, or both?  Hasn’t Israel bent over backwards to make peace initiatives with the Palestinians?  Look at Judea, Samaria and Gaza –  all \”land for peace\” initiatives, which, instead of appeasing the Palestinians, have turned  into areas for terrorism and hatred against (what is left of) Israel.  

    By pandering to the abuser, the abuse will continue.  Its time to say ,\”No More\”, as well as \”Never Again\”.  Israel belongs to the Jews and if the local Palestinians want to live there too, they need to be made to realise that it is by the rules of the Jewish people, otherwise they should kindly go and live elsewhere, and be escorted there if necessary!

    As for all the Palestinian refugees who want to invade Israel, there’s another response, its called \”No\”.  Stop all this political correctness, its not being truthful.’

  3. Myron Robinson

    Nov 14, 2014 at 6:09 am

    ‘So why do you not impose a reciprocal obligation on Hamas. Or do you hold similar views to Kasrils, Dugard, UNHRW etc. who believe that Israel must exercise restraint whereas Hamas can kill with impunity. If so your members are more ignorant & naïve than I currently suspect. Most Israelis & Jews want peace but on whose terms.’

  4. Myron Robinson

    Nov 14, 2014 at 6:17 am

    ‘My earlier comment refers. Substitute the UN Relief and Works Agency ( UNHRWA) for UNHRW’

  5. david

    Nov 17, 2014 at 9:09 am

    ‘Do they really expect Israel to negotiate with Hamas, who will not accept any rights of Israel to any land whatsoever ?

       So what will we negotiate?  Please tell us all. Hamas is supported by Iran —  they call us dogs and lowlife who do not have the right to exist. ‘

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Letters/Discussion Forums

It’s a sin to remain silent – report abuse



I recently came across a poster on an Orthodox Jewish website that said something like, “Don’t do anything that you don’t want others to find out about.” Its message is simple: be respectful. Behave morally. Don’t hurt. Be kind.

I mention this in response to Rebbetzin Wendy Hendler’s recent article in the SA Jewish Report titled ‘Men also face gender-based violence’, specifically in relation to her reference to the barriers that we Jews put up in our community regarding lashon hara or mesirah (one Jew handing over another Jew to secular authorities).

If these laws are preventing our Jewish community from calling out abusers, it indicates that most people don’t fully understand them, and have taken laws regarding speech too far and in the wrong direction.

They were meant to create atmospheres of shalom, and guide us regarding speech, what is acceptable to talk about and what’s not. It’s better to discuss the words of the Torah than talk disparagingly about the Rebbetzin’s new sheitel. Use speech to elevate the world.

The laws of speech were never meant to protect abusers, nor to pressurise victims into remaining silent. To think that we cannot speak out against an abuser is distorted. Abusers have shattered and poisoned any atmosphere of shalom that speech laws were meant to facilitate.

Getting back to the website message, I want to say firstly: it’s true. If your actions embarrass you it’s often an indication you did something wrong. The remedy for that is to not do wrong things.

Secondly, seeing this message on an Orthodox Jewish website was a breath of fresh air, because we Orthodox Jews are so used to emphasising the laws of lashon hara that some people may be too scared to talk about anyone or anything at all, even abuse. This idea is out of control. We have extended the umbrella of lashon hara too far, and included things it wasn’t meant to include.

To the contrary, there are certain harmful aspects of individual behaviour that we must expose. It is a sin to remain silent. It is pikuach nefesh – the mitzvah of ‘saving a life’ – which Rebbetzin Hendler also echoes when she says, “For victims, child sexual abuse is akin to being a living murder victim.”

The bottom line is: report abuse. And teach your children to report abuse too.

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Letters/Discussion Forums

Help me trace my missing relatives



I would be grateful if anyone is able to help me trace my missing relatives, Cynthia Hasson (born Sassen), the daughter of my late grandfather, and her son, Victor Hassen, who I have been told is a medical doctor in London. Cynthia, who could be in her mid 80s, was known to be living in Cape Town some time ago.

Contact Monty Sassen ( or

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Letters/Discussion Forums

Late night letter to Eli Kay



Dear Eli

I cannot sleep tonight. The past 24 hours have thrown me off my fulcrum. Shock and devastation swept through our community, hurt and disbelief engulfed the Jewish nation. Time stood still whilst our world was flooded with social media feeds, pictures, and comments on the extraordinary yet short life you lived. The Chassidic master, the Baal Shem Tov, teaches that everything you hear and see is a lesson in life. Tonight, as you have been laid to rest, I want to thank you for some powerful lessons.

  1. Don’t take life for granted. We live mostly robotic lives, scuttling from one activity to the next, mostly mindless, yet every day is a gift, a privilege bestowed upon us. Do we live each day to the fullest, and are we present? When we hear such shocking news, we cannot help but be jolted and ask ourself: did I squander opportunity today? Did I utilise my time effectively? What if this were to be my last day, would I be doing what I’ve done? We could all embrace the gift of life with a lot more presence and purpose.
  2. Life must be lived outwardly, selflessly. It stunned me how you engaged with the world with passion and vigour, and gave of yourself selflessly. Your family “genre” is one of community activism, of leading and of giving to all sectors of society. Well, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. But here was the lesson – it wasn’t about money, it wasn’t about honour or stature, it wasn’t about being famous. Until yesterday, you were an ordinary human just living your life. But in that ordinariness lay the greatness – in the simple acts of goodness and kindness, you were of service to other human beings. In the army or in yeshiva, in your everyday interaction, you radiated outwardly and touched the people around you. Yes, it was a short life, but it was rich and full. In a world that revolves around the “I” you taught how to transcend your space and make it about the other.
  3. You revealed the love of Am Yisrael. All too often we get so caught up in our day-to-day humdrum, in the myriad of faribels and upsets that colour our day, that we forget that we all are brothers and sisters – one family with one father in heaven. You united us. It didn’t matter today who one was, which shul we daven in, what part of the world we find ourselves in, what sect or group of Judaism we follow, today you were the child of the Jewish people, and today, we cried that we lost one of our own. Today, we were one people with one heart. Unity brings love, strength, and support.
  4. Finally, your name called out to me. Eliyahu David. Today, through our tears, I heard us calling for Eliyahu Hanavi (Elijah the prophet) to announce that our suffering in this wretched galus (exile) is over. The shofar of redemption needs to be blown, and we all need to come back home. Back to the city of King David, back to the place we call home – Jerusalem. It’s not without divine providence that you lost your life in the heart of King David’s city.

Dear Eli, I learnt so much from you. Thank you for teaching us so much. May you be bound in eternal life. May your entire family be strengthened and find comfort during this challenging time, and may we be reunited with you and all those who have passed before us speedily in our days with the arrival of Moshiach … now.

Aidel Kazilsky

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