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Join protest against Hamas’s sexual violence

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It took nearly five months and continual pressure from women’s rights advocates, but the United Nations (UN) has finally acknowledged that both during and subsequent to the 7 October massacre, Hamas has perpetrated the most heinous acts of sexual violence against Israeli captives.

On Monday, 4 March, the UN issued a report confirming that it found “clear and convincing” information that hostages held captive by Hamas in Gaza were sexually abused, and that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that this sexual violence is continuing. Sadly, but hardly unpredictably, what’s also continuing is the deafening silence of our own government in the face of yet more revelations of Hamas’s depravities. Nineteen women are still being held hostage in Gaza, and testimony from freed hostages indicates that male hostages have also been sexually abused.

This coming Friday, 8 March, is International Women’s Day, designated by the UN itself in 1975 to promote women’s rights across the world. Under the banner of #MeTooUnlessYou’reAJew, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) will be marking this day by holding a protest march against the heinous weaponising of sexual violence by Hamas as well as the African National Congress government’s persistent refusal even to acknowledge, let alone condemn it. Jewish women from Johannesburg and further afield will march from the Constitutional Court to the Commission for Gender Equality. There, they will be addressed by Israeli feminist and social activist, Miriam Gvaram, the deputy executive director of the Survivors of Sexual Violence Advocacy Group. While in the country, Gvaram will also meet several gender-based violence nongovernmental organisations and engage with the media to share her extensive expertise in gender-based violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking, and brief them on the brutality of the attacks on women on 7 October.

In addition, the SAJBD will be handing a memorandum to President Cyril Ramaphosa calling on him to demand the immediate release of the hostages, something that the International Court of Justice unequivocally included in its ruling. We also call on him to speak out against the sexual violence committed by Hamas against hostages currently in Gaza.

For Jewish women in our community, this is a moment where you can speak out against the silence of sexual violence in Gaza and raise your voices for those who are unable to do so. We urge all of you who are able to answer our call, as we declare, “We believe women. Stand with Women. Speak out for women.” RSVP here Details of venue and transport available on registration. For more information, please contact Wendy Kahn on 082 444 3675.

  • Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM, every Friday from 12:00 to 13:00.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Renee Evans

    Mar 9, 2024 at 3:55 am

    I’m so proud of my South African WJC sisters. My spirit is with you!

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