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The Jewish Report Editorial

Strike a woman, strike the Jewish world!

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I’ve been on countless protest marches in my life, but there was something about marching alongside other Jewish women that was so empowering, emotive, and heartwarming.

Last Friday, about 350 mostly Jewish women gathered from all over Johannesburg. Buses came from Glenhazel, Sandton, and Linksfield, and cars emerged from all over and out poured hundreds of women with matching black T-shirts with the slogan “#MeTooUnlessYoureAJew” on the front.

We were all there to protest against the silence about sexual violence and the weaponisation of sex that took place on 7 October, and is still being perpetrated in Gaza with the remaining hostages.

There was such a sense of belonging, camaraderie, and purpose, that we were doing something that means a whole lot to every one of us. I felt like the young school girls, the elderly, religious, secular, those who generally spend their days pursuing careers, and those who are home executives, were all united as one.

We were the same on this particular International Women’s Day. No matter who we are when we’re not together, we’re bonded as Jewish women who are angry that our sisters – and brothers – in Israel aren’t being believed.

We’re angry that the leadership of our country, South Africa, doesn’t care about 1 200 people who were brutally murdered and raped in Israel on 7 October. It doesn’t give a damn about the horror still being experienced by the hostages. Its focus is on one side – and it’s not the side of our brethren.

As Jewish women, we certainly care about the Palestinian women and children who are going through a hellish time, but the world is cognisant of their pain, but is making a real meal out of ignoring the pain of our Jewish sisters and brothers.

We’re infuriated, because we don’t accept that it will ever be okay to dismiss crimes against humanity because the victims are Jews. In fact, it will never be okay to dismiss such crime against any group of people, but it just so happens that right now, it’s our extended families who are the victims.

It was, however, incredible how our community – in this case the women – came together as one united front against the wrongs we see in the world. I don’t believe there was one woman there who felt afraid. I don’t believe there was one woman who wasn’t empowered. I don’t believe there was one woman who wouldn’t have supported all the others.

As we marched up the street, singing and chanting, we not only showed the city how bonded and strong we are, but we showed ourselves. Yes, I know, many may question what we achieved by marching, but that’s a whole other argument.

I can’t say we changed any one of our onlooker’s minds, if in fact they even knew about 7 October and the Israel-Hamas war. Who knows? Will those who watched us on television or read about us think twice about Black Saturday? I don’t know, but I do know what we felt.

I do know that we’re strong, we’re powerful, and, as a united front, Jewish women around the world are formidable. Jewish people around the world are going nowhere – we’re here to stay.

Many may choose to ignore us and dismiss what happens to us, but we’ll not go silently. We – as Jews – will be heard whether the world likes it or not.

Many in the world, especially in our government, are demanding a ceasefire without any consideration for what happens to the hostages and the brutality of Hamas against Jews. Israel won’t just back off. It can’t without the return of the hostages. It can’t just back down until it’s sure that Hamas cannot come back to fulfil its promise to keep repeating what happened on 7 October.

There are times when we as Jews living in South Africa feel as if we are alone and the world is getting more and more antisemitic, but we need to remember two things. First, social media really and truly makes it look a whole lot worse than it actually is. We have many friends who love and support us as Jews and individuals.

The truth is that we still live a beautiful life in South Africa, and most people don’t care a jot about what’s going on outside this country. They don’t look askance at us because why would they? We’re South Africans, just like they are, and they treat us as such. As we’re all fully aware, we’re contributing members of this country and society, and are accepted as such.

Any mistreatment is coming from very few misguided people who, truth be known, aren’t very well educated in what is going on in the Middle East. Let’s be honest, they are taking the word of one of the world’s worst terrorist organisations as gospel. Now, why would anyone do that?

Secondly, we’re not alone, we have each other, we have the Jewish world, and we have Israel. We’re one incredible united front across borders and oceans. As one of the young people who went to the StandWithUs conference last week put it, they felt so united in knowing the same tunes to prayers as other people who grew up in a host of different countries. They were bonded because they were Jews. Same, same, but different. That’s the joy and the bond that unites us. We’re that crazy, dysfunctional extended family, and for that I’m proud.

Shabbat Shalom!

Peta Krost


We won’t be publishing next week, but will be back the following week. Because of that, we made sure to give you a larger than normal edition, so you have something to read until we return.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Catharina Conradie

    Apr 8, 2024 at 3:29 pm

    Good for you. Unfortunately there are also many Palestinian women that feels just like you, but we don’t really hear of them that much. Here and there we read about them.. the same things happening to them just in a more systemic way. So sad for all innocent people on both sides. Really sad. May Jesus Christ find them and give them the peace they need. Strongs to you.

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