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Jews in crosshairs of SA government

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The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) headed by minister Naledi Pandor has called for sanctions against Israel resulting from the recent hostilities between Hamas in Gaza and Israel. As the minister of foreign affairs, one would think that her department would be aware of a host of unfortunate and tragic conflicts around the globe in which innocent civilians including children have been killed.

Unfortunately, armed with such facts, the minister, wearing her colour-coded blinkers, sees only one conflict that warrants comment from her and DIRCO.

The conflict in the Tigray province of Ethiopia, the Turkish onslaught on the Kurds, the Yemen war, the Syrian genocide, or the multifaceted conflict in Myanmar are just a few of the conflict regions around the globe claiming not hundreds but thousands of civilian casualties including thousands of children purposely targeted, as has been the case with schools and a hospital in Syria. But the good minister marks all those absent, and has yet to make any comment about the human-rights abuses in these conflict regions. Obviously these conflicts don’t constitute such abuses.

Of the 245 killed (on both sides) in the Gaza conflict, it seems there wasn’t a single combatant killed in Gaza. Of those children killed, it seems there were no child soldiers forming part of the Hamas militants. Just how blind, biased, and antisemitic can this minister be?

South African arms have found their way to most of those conflicts except Israel, in direct contravention of the country’s policy of not selling arms to countries with doubtful human-rights records. But profit overrides humanity when it comes to the morality of the African National Congress (ANC) government.

The South African government needs to do some soul searching, and look in its own backyard at the crime statistics and every other facet of its incompetent administration including its abysmal management of securing and distributing coronavirus vaccines.

When will an administration responsible for international relations find the responsibility and morality to deal fairly with all nations around the globe? It’s simple, the ANC government, in its international stand and its president’s statements, displays blatant antisemitism of the worst nature. It’s Jews that are in the crosshairs of the ANC government, and it’s time that this is called out by freedom loving nations, and the ANC is condemned for firing up hatred amongst its citizens.

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Letters/Discussion Forums

Milnerton Shul needs your help with its history

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I’m researching the history of the Milnerton Shul. There is currently very little information about it. Please help me by emailing any information you may have on the shul to the following address: nicky@stein.org.za.

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It’s a sin to remain silent – report abuse

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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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Help me trace my missing relatives

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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 (montyandbernice@telkomsa.net or sassenm@telkomsa.net).

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