Israel builds ties to Africa through dialogue

  • SAFICapeTown
The “Bringing Israel to Africa” conference in Cape Town last weekend was attended by about 300 people from all religious, racial, and cultural backgrounds, who showed solidarity, admiration and love for the embattled Jewish state.
by RODNEY MAZINTER | Jun 07, 2018

Singing, dancing and musical interludes from the STAC Foundation Singers and Erez Shaked drew the audience in at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium event in Parow, and underpinned the more serious presentations from local and visiting luminaries.

Julie Berman, the Executive Director of the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) (Cape Council), set the tone by underlining the co-operation between Christians and Jews in South Africa, and their support for bringing Israel to Africa and taking Africa to Israel. SAFI (the South African Friends of Israel) - the event’s organiser - is built on the foundation that the future of Israel lies in “spreading the truth”, while reaching out to all communities to find solutions.

“As a flagship initiative of the South African Zionist Federation, SAFI is at the forefront of changing attitudes towards Israel and global Jewry,” said Berman.

SAZF Chairman Rowan Polovin said that an overwhelming number of South African Jews and Christians supported Israel as a modern, humane, innovative country that brought hope to the world.

He emphasised the destructiveness of organisations such as Boycott Divestment and Sanction (BDS), saying that they were the very antithesis of peace and prosperity in the region.

SAFI’s goal is to strengthen ties between Israel and its allies across the African continent, and to build new relationships through dialogue between the South African Jewish community and the broader South African faiths, cultures, political and civil Society.”

Rabbi Carlos Tapiero, Deputy Director General and Director of Education at the Maccabi World Union, spoke about Israel’s 70 years of existence, and the role played by Christians in supporting the Holy Land.

Sivan Ya’ari, the founder and Chief Executive of Innovation Africa, gave an emotional presentation about how an Israeli woman with drive, love and a belief that anything is possible, could make a difference in the most primitive of situations, bringing light, food, and water to saddest inhabitants of the African continent.

Eytan Gilboa, Professor of Communications and International Relations at Bar-Ilan University, demonstrated how Israel has always been willing to compromise in the search for peace.

Vivienne Myburgh, the Director of the Israel Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, said it was time that all who have the best interest of the Jewish state at heart stand up to intolerance and hate.

Archbishop Mbulelo Mvubu of the Council of Churches of South Africa told the audience that he had returned from his visit to the Holy Land with an entirely changed perspective and, more importantly, as an advocate for Israel.

The conference exemplified the principles of peace, love, unity, education, and truth, and sought to promote mutually beneficial connections between Israel and Africa.

  • Rodney Mazinter is Vice-Chairperson of the SA Zionist Federation (Cape Council).


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