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Spoke in NY & ate with Jewry in Brussels

The delightful story of how a youthful Howard Sackstein engineered a dinner for Euro-Jewry with Nelson Mandela in Brussels – en route home from addressing the UN – encompasses a plethora of Jewish people and their encounters with Madiba. This is THE must read story of the week and users can even buy the book!

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HOWARD SACKSTEIN

Reprinted with permission, originally published under the title: “The day a nation voted – by HOWARD SACKSTEIN” in a 90th birthday tribute book titled: MADIBA – A TRIBUTE FROM SA JEWRY

The day a nation voted

It was a warm Sunday afternoon on 11 February 1990. Judy Froman, Kevin Joselowitz and I were watching the endless delays on SABC TV waiting for Nelson Mandela to walk free from Victor Verster Prison, in Paarl. My mind raced back to my legal principal at Werksmans Attorneys, Dov Judah, who had repeatedly warned me against campaigning for Mandela’s release.

Brusseld meetJudah had been at Wits University with the then young Mandela, and he had been unimpressed by Mandela’s participation in class and his dedication to the law.

RIGHT: from left, Howard, Madiba and Bantu Holomisa engage with a Jewish leader in Brussels 

Judah was not alone, for many in our community, this would be a day of great uncertainty and disquiet.

As Madiba walked free at about 4:15pm, hand in hand with Winnie at his side, crowds shown on TV erupted into spontaneous jubilation. The northern suburbs of Johannesburg, were however, eerily silent. Judy, Kevin and I climbed into my car and headed straight to Hillbrow. On the streets of the inner city thousands of people ululated, danced and sang in a frenetic explosion of euphoria. Up and down Pretoria Street and Kotze Street all of us, waving leaf covered branches, toi-toi’d, sang and screamed until we were too exhausted to continue.

Poor planning left him homeless

After addressing an overflowing crowd of more than 50 000 people in Cape Town, Mandela flew to Johannesburg. Much of the release was poorly planned and Madiba had nowhere to stay upon his arrival in Johannesburg.

ANC activist Jean de la Harpe was assigned the responsibility for finding Mandela a place to sleep for the first few nights. She immediately called Barbra Buntman, a renowned Jewish anti-apartheid campaigner and chairperson of the Five Freedoms Forum (the umbrella body of white anti-apartheid groups). Barbra was ecstatic about the choice of her home for Madiba, but was forced to decline because her husband’s relatives were visiting from the UK and she had nowhere else to put them.

Brussels - Sisa & Howard hi-resWith the Buntmans out of contention, Mandela moved into the home of Sally Cohen. Jean later told the story of how they ran out of food in the house and she was instructed to go shopping for the Mandela entourage.

Groceries thrown over the wall

In the chaos and confusion of the time, Mandela’s security refused to allow Jean and her shopping back into the house. Desperate to get the food to Mandela, Jean threw the bags of groceries over the wall of Sally Cohen’s home.

LEFT: Present SA Ambassador to Israel Sisa Ngombane and Howard Sackstein catch up in June – their first meeting since Brussels

The excitement of the release was soon dampened when Mandela met with Yasser Arafat, hugging the guerrilla leader and declaring that he was not concerned about offending “the powerful Jewish community”. For those of us in the leadership of Jews for Social Justice (the Jewish anti-apartheid movement), Mandela’s actions jeopardised the thawing relations between the ANC and the organised Jewish community we had worked so hard to achieve.

Over the previous few years, Jews for Social Justice had facilitated dialogue between the Mass Democratic Movement and the Jewish community. In 1989, JSJ had sent a Jewish delegation to meet the ANC in exile in Lusaka. The Jewish delegation included Ann Harris, wife of the then Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris.

Brusels - howardAfter the Mandela comments, former political prisoner and my co-vice chairperson of JSJ, Maxine Hart, immediately called one of Mandela’s chief aides, Terror Lekota. Together we facilitated a meeting between Lekota and representatives of the organised Jewish community. My parents, Maurice and Helen offered their home as the venue for the meeting. My memories of the evening are, however, marred by our family dog trying to bite Terror Lekota upon his arrival.

LEFT: Howard 2013-style, less hair, less intense and always in party-mode – at the Absa Jewish Achievers event which he has run for the past 3 years

For the rest of the evening, the dog and my parents remained banished to the bedroom as the parties met. Lekota, who had close ties to many of us in JSJ, understood the fears and neuroses of the Jewish community and promised to ensure a symbolic act by Mandela to re-assure the community of their welcome place within a soon-to-be changing South Africa.

Within no time, Mandela summoned Helen Suzman and Isy Maisels to his bedside in hospital to pass on a message of comfort to the community. Mandela’s words of reassurance were widely publicised within the community and went some way to allay their fears.

Later on, the diminutive and spunky Maxine Hart, never afraid to confront the apartheid government or a struggle icon when she thought he was wrong, would meet Mandela at a private party and lambaste him for the thoughtlessness of his comments.

Euro-Jews wanted to host Madiba

In early 2003, I received a request from the World Jewish Congress’ European political arm, they wished to host Mandela at a function in Brussels. I assured them the request was impossible but they were persistent. Months and months of negotiations ensued between myself and Shell House. Finally, with the assistance of Jesse Duarte, a date was set for a Mandela dinner. Madiba would fly to address the United Nations in September 2003 and, on his way back to South Africa, he would stop for an evening in Brussels for a dinner.

The dinner was a sophisticated and sparkling affair punctuated with expensive champagne, white-gloved waiters, silver cutlery and canapés. The Chateau de La Hulpe outside Brussels was filled with dignitaries who had flown in from throughout Europe. The most prominent business leaders in Europe lined up with ambassadors to the European Union to have their photographs taken with Mandela.

During his eloquent speech to the gathering, Mandela spoke about his association over decades with the Jewish community, about his Jewish lawyers and about Helen Suzman and how she had campaigned as a lone voice in Parliament for his release. He even spoke about a Jewish lawyer named Lazar Sidelsky, the only man willing to give him law articles in his youth.

The Mandela delegation included many of the leading figures within the ANC at the time and Allan Hirsch, deputy head of the President’s policy unit, recently reminisced to me that that evening was one of the most impressive gatherings he has ever attended.

Sorry, fella, no job here

When Madiba finally found a home and moved into Houghton, he went house to house to introduce himself to his new neighbours. A friend of mine later told me the story that Mandela knocked on his grandfather’s front door to introduce himself. The elderly Jewish man, upon seeing the distinguished black gentleman, but not recognising him, immediately apologised to him for being unable to offer him a job.

Mandela assured him that he had another job waiting and the gentleman need not worry.

Over my six years of running elections with the Independent Electoral Commission, I dealt with Mandela on a number of occasions.

Lying on the lawns of the Union Building in 1994, watching Mandela take the oath of office was a mixture of ecstasy and relief. I had been so sleep deprived during the chaos of our first democratic election that, at one point in time, I fell asleep during the inauguration.

I will, however, never forget the fly-over by the SANDF trailing the new South African flag – for at that moment, for the first time in my life, I felt proud to be a South African.

Brusssels - HowardHoward the tour guide

During one visit to the Election Centre in 1999, I escorted Madiba on a guided tour of the Results Centre in Pretoria. Our short stroll turned into an almost hour-long walk as Mandela stopped to greet and talk to almost everyone in the entire hall. Carried on live television, as the two of us meandered around the Pretoria Showgrounds, I can’t help thinking that this did not make for riveting TV viewing for anyone other than my mother.

RIGHT: It made riveting TV-viewing for his mother, says Howard – who ran the 1999 elections

I would occasionally pop into the Union Buildings at the invitation of Presidential Spokesperson Parks Mankhalana, whom I had taken to Israel as part of the SAUJS/ANC Youth League Study Mission  in 1992.

Parks was always concerned to know what the Jewish community was thinking of Mandela and his presidency. At a presidential dinner for Jacques Chirac, held in Pretoria in 1998, I remember thinking how strange it was for a dancing Madiba to be swamped and mobbed by the local dignitaries while President Chirac went basically ignored.

Mandela, like no one else, understands the importance of symbol. His number six Springbok rugby jersey at the Rugby World Cup will forever represent a pivotal moment when many white South Africans bought into the unity of a new nation. His philosophy of reconciliation, forgiveness and nation-building can probably best be attributed to the enormous influence of Walter Sisulu on his thinking and life.

Madiba joked about Chaskalson’s wedding gift

Mandela though, mixes ideology with humanity, humility and humour. One can only see these traits emerge in small stories about the man rather than in grand gestures, for it is in these moments that his true humanity shines through. Arriving at Jerome and Jacky Chaskalson’s wedding, in the garden of Arthur and Lorraine Chaskalson, Mandela joked with me that my gift would find far better use with him rather than in the pile of presents lying at the door.

One day in 2001, while driving into the Mandela Foundation in Houghton, my car was blocked by the Mandela cavalcade trying to exit the gate. I reversed out of the yard to let them pass and Mandela wound down his window to thank me for this courtesy.

Humour and humility

As Mandela transitioned from the seat of power, he realised that his legacy could best be preserved by his ability to draw resources and publicity to the areas of his greatest concern: children, education, poverty and AIDS.

On his 90th birthday, how can we truly give thanks to the man who saved our nation, who taught us the meaning of humanity and who proved to us that good will always triumph over evil, no matter what the odds?

I believe the Mandela legacy should live in each of us. We as a Jewish community should dedicate ourselves to expunging racism from ourselves and our land, we should strive for human rights for ourselves and for others, and we should never do anything that does not have morality as its driving force.

On this momentous anniversary let us also pay tribute to the Jewish contemporaries of Madiba, who played their part, big and small, in the struggle. Let us use this moment to give thanks to those of our own, too numerous to mention, who paved the way for our freedom in South Africa today.

  • Howard Sackstein is a lawyer, businessman and former anti-apartheid activist with a lengthy record of Jewish communal service. He worked at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for six years ending as executive director largely responsible for the 1999 general election. He is also a director of the South African Jewish Report

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“Let my people in” – chief rabbi takes on travel ban

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South Africa’s chief rabbi, Dr Warren Goldstein, has taken on the Israeli government over its sudden blanket travel ban in light of the new variant discovered by South African scientists.

He has been interviewed in Hebrew across multiple national radio stations, TV stations, print media, and online media in Israel.

In a plea to Israeli leaders, he said that shutting the door on world Jewry was a mistake for a number of reasons.

Many South African Jews were turned back in transit between 25 and 26 November, and others are desperately trying to get there because of important family commitments. But the chief rabbi emphasises that “Israel is home to all Jews, especially in times of crisis, and a total closure signals a separation between Israeli and diaspora Jews. The new variant doesn’t distinguish between Jews who have Israeli citizenship and other Jews.”

To him, there are two issues at stake. “The first is the relationship between Israel and the South African Jewish community. Our relationship with Israel is very much part of our value system, and we are a very Zionist community. This is expressed in many different ways, for example, our aliyah numbers, which proportionately are really strong. It’s also expressed in the high percentage of our community who have visited Israel, the fact that so many of our youth study in Israel, and especially in how so many of us have family in Israel. The connection goes very deep.”

To be blocked from entering Israel is therefore “a real blow to the South African Jewish community – spiritually and emotionally”. This latest blanket ban comes after almost two years of very intermittent access to Israel, and the new extreme levels of restriction were a tipping point for him.

“I felt I needed to make my voice heard in Israeli society. This is why I went to the Hebrew media, so that this plea would be heard by society and decision makers. I wanted to send a message on behalf of our whole community.”

He says he has seen the pain of these restrictions reflected in many ways. For example, specific incidents, like a father not being able to attend his son’s Barmitzvah, and a general sense of loss and distance.

The other reason he has spoken out is “for the sake of Israel itself, and for all Jews. Is Israel an ordinary state, or a Jewish state?” he asks rhetorically. “This is a direct plea to the Israeli government and goes to the heart of Israel’s identity. Israel is the only Jewish state, and we are deeply connected to it. In light of that unbreakable bond, if the state says some Jews can’t enter, it’s drawing a divide between the state of Israel and communities across the diaspora. That partnership between diaspora Jewry and the state of Israel is crucial, and if you break that bond, it will hurt Israel and world Jewry.”

He isn’t asking Israel to jeopardise the health of its citizens. Rather, he’s asking that the same criteria be applied to Israeli citizens returning to Israel and Jews needing to visit. Israeli citizens who want to return are allowed to do so if they are fully vaccinated, do a PCR test, and go into quarantine.

“If you combine these three strict requirements, the Israeli authorities have deemed that the risk becomes negligible. If they are good enough for Israeli citizens, any Jew in the world should be allowed to enter on the same basis.”

Goldstein is speaking up now in particular because “vaccines have completely transformed the risk profile. We can see this in the current wave in South Africa.” He has written about it before, but not as extensively as now. “I’ve learnt that one needs to use multiple platforms and address Israeli society directly.”

He says the message has found “tremendous resonance with journalists. I haven’t spoken to one Israeli interviewer who wasn’t sympathetic. They have challenged me, and I have clarified that I’m not asking for more than what’s granted to Israeli citizens. There has been a lot of support and interest.”

He says the incident in which South African Jews were forced away from Israel on Friday 26 November and made to fly on Shabbat was “an absolute disgrace and totally unacceptable for any state, but for a Jewish state, was unthinkable and beyond the pale. This is especially considering the circumstances of two of these Jews going to comfort the Kay family, whose son gave his life for the state of Israel. At the very least, the Israeli government must apologise for this conduct and promise its citizens and Jews around the world that such a thing will never happen again.”

Finally, he says “vaccination is everything. It’s a blessing. Thank G-d for it. Take it with both hands: it is a big mitzvah to protect yourself and others.”

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World mourns Eli Kay, son of SA Jewry

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At the beginning of November, the Kay family celebrated the happiest of simchas in Israel – the wedding of Avi and Devorah Kay’s eldest son. Three weeks later, they again gathered in the Jewish homeland, but this time for the darkest of tragedies: the funeral of the Kays’ second eldest son, Eliyahu (Eli), who was murdered by a Hamas terrorist in Jerusalem on Sunday, 21 November 2021.

A South African oleh who was building a beautiful life in Israel, 25-year-old Kay was shot dead by a Palestinian gunman in Old City, near the Kotel. Four others were hurt. Horrific images of blood being washed from the Jerusalem stones were seen online after the attack.

The Jewish world is now mourning the senseless loss of a soul who embodied the best of the South African Jewish community and its commitment to Judaism and Israel. Indeed, that deep love of his faith, history, and identity was what brought Kay to the Kotel on Sunday. He was living his purpose but was killed for being a Jew.

An ardent Zionist, he made aliyah from South Africa without his family in 2016. His parents and siblings later joined him, with his parents leaving South Africa last December amidst tough COVID-19 restrictions. They settled in Modi’in. Avi’s parents, Cliffy and Jessie, remain in Johannesburg, while Devorah’s parents Rabbi Shlomo and Rebbetzin Lynndy Levin of South Hampstead Synagogue, live in London. The tragedy of grandparents burying a grandchild is unfathomable.

The family are pillars of the Johannesburg Jewish community, and played a vital role in building Torah Academy over generations. Both parents, as well as their four children, were alumni of the school. In its statement, the school pointed out that Kay was killed while holding his tefillin and a Likutei Sichos [The ‘Collected Talks’ containing the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe] – devoted until the very end to his Judaism.

He accomplished much in his short life. After arriving in Israel, he studied at a Chabad yeshiva in Kiryat Gat in the south of Israel, and then enlisted in the army. “He was a squad commander in the paratroopers, which is a big deal for a lone soldier in my view,” says Ron Feingold, who served with him. “He volunteered for the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and then excelled enough to lead people in it. I will never forget our conversations about the duty that we felt to our people.”

After completing his military service, he volunteered at the Nirim kibbutz for a year in the Eshkol region of Israel. Writing on Facebook, Shira Silkoff recalled meeting him when she arrived on kibbutz.

“The first time I met you [Eli], you were walking in one direction and I was walking the other. I was shy, unsure of how to go about meeting people who already all seemed to be friends. But we spoke for a few minutes, on that kibbutz path, with you holding a tub of slowly melting ice cream. Because that was you. You had time for everyone. No news report can capture your spirit. Your smile. Your passion for life, your ability to hold deep conversations at absurd hours, and absurd conversations at any hour. None of the news reports can capture your enthusiasm, your determination to achieve everything you set out to do.”

Kay then began working at the Kotel as a guide at the Western Wall Plaza. Some reported that he was murdered on his way to pray, others that it was on his way to work. But for Kay, these tasks were intricately connected. At the end of the day, he was there because he loved Israel and the Jewish people. According to The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, Kay “warmly greet[ed] everyone he met, doing his sacred work”.

Hearing the news was one of the most difficult moments for members of the South African Jewish community. “I was broken, gutted,” says Rabbi Levi Avtzon, who taught Kay when he was a teen. “Eli was quite a character: he was feisty and demanded a lot of himself and others. He didn’t have time for nonsense. He was a great guitar player and a natural leader. He was a searcher, looking for the truth. And when he saw the truth, he would go all the way in following it.”

Avtzon says these values came from the incredible upbringing he received from his parents. He describes Avi as “a gentle soul” and “an incredible financial advisor”, who continues to do this work in South Africa even though he now lives in Israel. “Until they left for Israel, Devorah was the life and soul of Torah Academy Girls High – loved by everyone and really dynamic.” The family’s door was always open. For example, they graciously hosted Avtzon’s parents when they visited him after he first moved to South Africa as his flat was too small.

Contemplating what Kay’s future would have looked like had his life not been stolen so senselessly, Avtzon says, “No matter what he would have done, he would have done it well. We need to take pride that this is the kind of mensch that our community raises.”

Kay’s cousin, Eli Landes, wrote on Facebook how he remembered “dancing with you [Eli], laughing with you, learning to play ‘mouth trumpet’ with you, studying with you, making up fake British sentences with you, talking about life with you. In life, you defended us. Guarded us. And now, I have no doubt you stand at G-d’s right hand, continuing to fight for us and protect us.”

Kay’s fiancé, Jen Schiff, said, “I felt it was important to share how much Eli loved this country, and how he came here by himself, and fought for this country. He always treated everyone with love and respect. And I know that when this happened, he didn’t feel alone.”

The outpouring of grief and support came from the very top of Israeli society as well as from around the globe. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid and other Israeli leaders expressed condolences. Minister of diaspora affairs, Nachman Shai, personally wrote to the South African Jewish community, saying, “My heart breaks with yours. [Eli] was a son of both of our communities … Eli represented the best of the Zionist spirit nurtured in Johannesburg.”

Shai represented the Israeli government at the funeral, which took place at Har Menuchot cemetery in Jerusalem. Thousands of people from all walks of life attended in person, and almost 2 600 people (mostly from South Africa) watched on YouTube. There, Shai described him as “the paratrooper, the yeshiva student, warrior … the best of the best”.

Kay “would have been a great husband and father”, said an emotional Rabbi Motti Hadar, the principal of Torah Academy Boys High School, contemplating the brightest of futures cut short. “That is the hugest tragedy. And while his time came too soon, I think there is almost no other way he would have chosen to go than literally sacrificing his life for what he believed in, which was Israel, his Judaism, and living life to the fullest.”

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Miss SA future uncertain as Israel hatred boils

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It’s touch and go whether Miss South Africa will get on a plane to Israel to compete in the Miss Universe pageant next month, after a week of high drama in which the South African government bizarrely withdrew its support for the young university graduate.

The government had the anti-Israel lobby licking its lips at the prospect of her dreams being crushed. This lobby was determined that Lalela Mswane would never compete on an international stage in the coastal town of Eilat.

There are many who want her to go to Israel and represent her country, learn, engage, and prosper and there are those – a bunch of Israel haters – who are pulling out every stop to prevent it.

So far, the 24-year-old KwaZulu-Natal beauty has stood her ground. She is due to meet about 70 of her counterparts from all over the world – including the Arab world – in the Holy Land in a few weeks’ time.

Just how long she, the private Miss South Africa Organisation, and its chief executive, Stephanie Weil, can withstand the heat created by the small but predatory anti-Israel lobby is anyone’s guess.

At the time of going to press the odds were stacked against them in a fast moving developing story that has everyone guessing.

“It’s a rollercoaster ride,” said one insider.

Behind the scenes, a myriad of supporters have rallied around the young beauty queen, desperate to help her as critics stop at nothing to prevent her from representing her country at the Olympic Games of beauty pageants.

“It’s precarious, complicated,” offered another.

There has been more time and space allocated to this issue in the media than FW de Klerk’s death and his funeral arrangements, hung local councils, and coalition talks. Never mind the country’s dire electricity crisis, abysmal unemployment rate, water cuts, and critical crime levels. Social media has been lit with those fiercely in favour and those vehemently against Mswane attending the pageant.

It appears from thousands of social-media posts that many more are in favour of her fulfilling her dreams and wish her well than not.

The drama started with a statement issued on Sunday, 15 November, by the department of sports, art, and culture announcing that it would no longer support the pageant because of Miss SA organiser’s “intransigence and disregard” of advice against sending Miss SA to Israel, which it said would have a negative impact on her reputation and future.

The ministry, headed by Nathi Mthethwa, has come under fire for its lack of compassion for struggling artists during COVID-19 and the minister’s general ineffectiveness together with his department’s mismanagement of funds.

The African National Congress (ANC) made its views clear by backing and welcoming the government’s decision to withdraw support for Mswane.

The Democratic Alliance’s deputy shadow minister of sports, art, and culture, Veronica van Dyk, told the SA Jewish Report, “Miss SA is a private company, and as such must deal with the government as it sees fit. We don’t intend to be drawn into a fight between the two. A beauty pageant should never be politicised, and this is exactly what the ANC is trying to achieve. We should be weary not to fall into their trap.”

Department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson, Clayson Monyela, said this week that in spite of all of the anti-Israel rhetoric, South Africa had “no intention of suspending any diplomatic relationships with Israel”.

He told The Citizen, and later repeated to the SA Jewish Report that Mthethwa’s announcement reflected the government’s stance on the matter falling under his portfolio, “but didn’t indicate any intentions of cutting ties with Israel”.

“We have diplomatic relations with both Israel and Palestine. What has happened with Miss South Africa cannot be anywhere close to cutting diplomatic ties. We can’t do that because if we do that, it means we can’t engage with Israel so are excluding ourselves from being part of the solution to the conflict, because if you cut ties with a country, it doesn’t have to engage with you,” said Monyela.

However Miss SA’s future hangs in the balance, as negotiations behind the scenes continue ad nauseam.

Zev Krengel, the national vice-president of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, lambasted the anti-Israel lobby for its bullying and intimidatory tactics, and said Miss SA was being used as a political scapegoat.

“Miss SA is a young woman, she is an easy target,” he said.

South Africa, he said, participated in various team sports, namely baseball, tennis, and soccer, against Israel, and where was the outrage?

Speculation has it that the signing of the Abraham Accords could eventually lead to Israel co-hosting the 2030 FIFA World Cup with its Arab neighbours.

“Do you see South Africa pulling Bafana Bafana out? No, this is pure bullying of a young woman, it’s outrageous,” he said.

He said he was bitterly disappointed in the government for withdrawing its support of Miss SA saying it was “on the wrong side of history, and while the rest of the world opens up and benefits from relations with Israel, including several Arab nations, South Africa is determined to remain on the sidelines of progress”.

People from all over have weighed in on the controversy.

The former Israeli ambassador to South Africa, Arthur Lenk, tweeted, “Wait, wait! Governments offer no support for this non-governmental contest. And the SA government made no decision whatsoever. A single ministry stated a viewpoint. Where is the story here other than the hateful noise the anti-Israel lobby is peddling?”

Author Khaya Dlanga took to Instagram saying that the government had “crossed the line” by withdrawing its support for Mswane, and had thrown her under the bus.

“They have put a young woman in an impossible position,” he said. “This government hasn’t imposed sanctions against Israel or travel restrictions. Instead, it’s grandstanding on the shoulders of a young girl. Why throw her under the bus when it hasn’t made meaningful commitments? Let her go.”

The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) said it was “appalled” that the government was “self-sabotaging” the country’s hopes and chances of participating and shining in Miss Universe just because it happened to take place in Israel.

“Our country is simply signalling its isolationism and irrelevance on the world stage,” it said.

The government had been silent on serious human-rights abuses occurring in many other countries where South Africa participates in sports and contests but “self-righteously reserves its opprobrium for the world’s only Jewish state”, the SAZF said.

“If our country were interested in bringing peace to the Middle East or carrying any moral weight in playing a mediatory role between Israel and the Palestinians, we have now ensured that our one-sidedness and unilateralism will prevent us from doing so,” the organisation said.

Meanwhile, the Miss South Africa Organisation broke its social-media silence this week with an Instagram post about Miss SA 2020, Shudufhadzo Musida’s, participation at Miss World in Puerto Rico on 16 December.

While Miss SA seemingly had the world at her feet just weeks ago, it remains to be seen if she will participate in Miss Universe.

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