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SA government could impartially facilitate ME peace

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ALANA BARANOV

 

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Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief Steve Linde

The South African government in particular, he felt, could play a unique role in not supporting one side over the other, but facilitating peaceful co-existence.

Asked if South Africa’s transition could inspire peace in Israel and Palestine, Linde said we taught the world that individuals could bring about change. “As Mandela and De Klerk made a difference, so too can Israeli and Palestinian leaders. There needs to be a genuine will, as Herzl said: ‘If you will it, it is no dream.’

“South Africa is the true rainbow nation that Mandela dreamt about, just as Herzl dreamt of a Jewish state and both of these dreams have come true,” he said. “There is so much promise for the future here and I hope that like Israel, South Africa can be a light unto the nations.”

Linde, who took the helm of one of the most popular English-language newspapers in Israel in July 2011 after serving as managing and news editor at the paper for 14 years, was in Durban last week as a guest of the Council of KwaZulu-Natal Jewry.

Linde was formerly with Israel Radio’s English News for over 21 years. Born in Zimbabwe and raised in Durban, he attended local Jewish day school Carmel College. He has a BA Journalism degree from Rhodes University and a graduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley. He made aliyah in 1987.

Linde was always drawn to journalism. “With each story I can meet amazing people and write about them. It is an unbelievable experience to sit with people who have done amazing things and explore their lives, personalities and what makes them tick.”

The highlight of his career has been interviewing President Shimon Peres, then at 91 the oldest leader in office, while the interview he would still most like to do would be with President Barack Obama.

Linde’s busy schedule in Durban included a packed community address; meetings with communal leadership and visits to the JNF’s Eco Centre at Hammarsdale and local home for the aged, Beth Shalom.

His trip generated great interest and invigorated the community. He was also the guest speaker at a successful CKNJ media function, where he had the opportunity to engage with local print and broadcast journalists on the current situation in the Middle East.

Having last visited 26 years ago, Linde was thrilled to be “home” and see how much had changed. “Obviously South Africa has its problems, but it’s exciting to see the positive differences that have taken place. I’d forgotten how beautiful Durban is and I’m pleasantly surprised to see how young and vibrant the community is. This is my community and a special community it is.”

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