Time for new Israel-SA relationship, urges Gold

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EXCLUSIVE: JR accompanied Dr Dore Gold to the Mandela House Museum in Soweto last Friday. Pictured here is tour guide Ilan Ossendtrywer showing Dr Gold, left, and fellow-diplomat Shimon Shapira pictures he (Ilan) had taken on Mandela’s release from prison – as well as what is believed to be the last picture ever taken of him in public. Pic: ANT KATZ
by ANT KATZ | Mar 16, 2016



Israel’s top diplomat, the director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Dore Gold, was in South Africa last week at the invitation of his South African counterpart, Ambassador Jerry Matthews Matjila, of the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco).

Jewish Report accompanied Gold to the Mandela House Museum in Soweto, which Gold had insisted on visiting to honour the memory of Nelson Mandela. Gold remarked that wherever he went in South Africa, he continued to find “warm hearts. The people of South Africa want to partner with Israel. We are coming back to Africa and we are excited about the potential."

Soweto 4Gold said that he had focused on the South African connection, particularly in response to initiatives from Dirco and President Jacob Zuma, who sent envoys to meet with him in Israel.

RIGHT: Dr Gold signs the visitor’s book at Mandela House Museum, flanked by Ambassador Arthur Lenk, left and Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein - Pic: ANT KATZ.

“We built on that,” Gold said. “The dialogue went extremely well. One felt an openness and a willingness to try new things that have never been tried before.”

The trip was also an opportunity for both sides to describe their national narrative to the other in an effort to promote better understanding.

In this context, Gold especially wanted to visit sites that were important for post-apartheid South Africa, including Soweto, Nelson Mandela’s home there, which is now a museum and where he signed the guest book.

“We Jews understand implicitly the struggle for freedom which Mandela led here. For us, Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people," said Gold.


Soweto5Dore Gold gave an impromptu talk to a school group at Mandela House in Soweto. He told them that Israel had, as South Africa is now, gone through a transformation from colonialism to democracy. In the photograph he is accompanied by Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein - who told Jewish Report that Gold’s visit represented “such important symbolism to both countries”  Pic: ANT KATZ

Gold also visited the symbolic Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, where members of the ANC plotted the overthrow of the apartheid government. A Jewish family involved in the Struggle had bought the farm, and Mandela - when hiding out there - played the part of their cook.

Gold also spoke to Jewish and Christian students at Wits. “We tried to send a message that it is time for Israel and South Africa to put aside their differences and to build a new relationship,” he emphasised.

“It is important for Israel to show that we have a strong respect for the struggle for freedom that was waged here,” he said. “This initial visit represents an important start, but there is considerable work still to be done,” Gold added.

1 Comment

  1. 1 nat cheiman 21 Mar
    I don't think so.


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