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Why SA Jewry faces highest security level




Concerning Security

SA Jewish Report’s non-executive chairman, Howard Feldman, and the president of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, Zev Krengel, in conversation…

South African Jews have been blessed until now with the luxury of naivety. Sadly the time has now come for us to join others in the Diaspora where heightened community security has been a way of life for so long.

Much has been said with regard to the specifics as to our current situation in South Africa and anyone who has driven past a shul recently would have noticed the bollards positioned ahead of the festivals.  Many people, however remain unclear as to the real facts, and in an attempt to provide such information, the SAJR will over the coming weeks be speaking to Zev Krengel who is at the forefront of this situation. 

According to Krengel, “We will be using this platform to communicate any information that is relevant to the situation and we ask the community to refer to this site and specifically this column regularly, as we will update as and when necessary”.

No comments please

It needs to be noted that although we welcome comments, we will not be publishing them. The site along with all of social media is not only read by those who support us and the information presented needs to be monitored.

Tutu as Hitler FransmanFor that reason we encourage people to respond in the comment blocks with questions, observations and thoughts, and we will endeavour to address them privately.  Should we see a common theme emerge, we will try as much as possible to provide guidance and answers.

‘Level 4’

The situation is as follows: There is a “Level 4” threat to the community. This is the highest level of threat without specific information as to timing and target available. It needs to be kept in mind that this level is not higher than most places in Europe. According to Zev Krengel we have outstanding leadership in all areas who are committed and devoted to the safety of our community.

“The CSO is working tirelessly, together with all other communal bodies, such as CAP and Hatzollah and has activated relevant resources from state security to local law enforcement and public space security companies,” says Krengel. “There is also an extensive medical plan in place, utilising all medical resources. We have support from the highest levels of SA government.”

What can the community do?

When asked what we can all do to assist, Krengel’s message was clear: Vigilance and awareness. Suspicious vehicles, suspicious people and anyone taking photos of installations, needs to be reported immediately. We know our areas, we know who belongs and we need to take advantage of that knowledge.

That in truth is one of the most critical aspects of security. But most importantly we need to be at shul and we need to celebrate the Festivals as they are meant to be celebrated. “I will be at shul with my children,” says Krengel. “They are very excited about the chagim as always and I see no reason why this year should be different”.

Call the single ICC emergency number from anywhere:
086 18 000 18 remember it as 086-Chai-thousand-Chai

Whereas most of us are concerned with what to wear and what to eat over the next few days (and how to avoid the irritating Aunt who seems to appear year after year), Jewish community leadership has worked tirelessly to make sure that we can walk to shul safely and be safe in shul. As a result of this dedication and with the help of G-d, may our biggest worry be how long the rabbi is going to speak for.

Please keep an eye on this column for updates.


Continue Reading


  1. Tanya Silver

    Sep 21, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Question forwarded to Zev, Howard and CSO   -ED

  2. maureen summerfield

    Sep 22, 2014 at 7:42 am

    ‘B\”H may we all walk in the sunshine in good health, peace, love,and happiness ….. everywhere…….. Mazeltov on the outstanding work you do, we feel safe.

    Chag Sameach …Shalom.   Maureen (Malka)

    I have no question,  just good wishes’

  3. Jared Smith

    Sep 22, 2014 at 8:54 am

    ‘Thank you for all the hard work.  Shana Tova. A safe and healthy new year to everyone! ‘

  4. Tony Lipschitz

    Sep 22, 2014 at 10:59 am

    ‘Are we, (from the point-of-view of halachah) allowed to carry cell-phones so as to warn of anything suspicious in view of the \”level 4\” security alert?’

  5. Akiva Peretz

    Sep 22, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    ‘May we use this as an opportunity for a fresh start, let us stop speaking so much loshon hora against one another, that will ultimately ensure our continued suffering. New year, new lease on life, stop the losh.’

  6. Jeff Guttenberg

    Sep 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    ‘Hashem bless you all. Happy new year and well over the fast’

  7. Choni

    Sep 22, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    I am very pleased that this ‘new’ site has been opened in which I can express my thoughts and observations to Messrs Krengle and Feldman without being censored.

    \nBlah Blah boring – Choni, you are trolling again – get over it or face being banned from commenting again – you cannot continue your harassment of every writer and on every post with your personal and boring trolling. This is a final warning. Either contribute, or don’t post   -ED


  8. Choni

    Sep 23, 2014 at 7:07 am

    ‘I thought this was supposed to be not the usual comments but only for Messrs Feldman and Krengle. You are not being fare Ant. Mr. Feldman is asking for thoughts and observations on security measures, and I am responding. Please can you pass a message on to the effect that I have very important thoughts on security.An invitation was made, what right have you to exclude me.? What are you afraid of from an old man like me?
    \nPlease pass this on to Mr.Feldman for his reaction.Choni


    Here’s the story Choni. No serious observations or suggestions will be published. They are being forwarded on to Messers Krengel (note spelling) and Feldman in the course of our normal moderation process and then removed so that they do not display on the website.
    \nNow, you can suggest 150 times a day that the answer is to make Aliyah, and I will have to read and delete that 150 times a day because all of your comments are forwarded to my desk.
    \nI will NOT pass your trollling on and I will not humour you any more. I simply don’t have time to play these games with you. I am deleting all of your many further attempts at trolling your meshugas about Aliyah and harassing both myself and our readers.
    \nEnough is enough! I know you have all day to play these games, but I certainly don’t and, under the present circumstances, those entrusted with our security, including that of yourself, Miriam and your daughter, most certainly do not want to hear it and waste time on it.
    \nNo more explanations, sympathy or even a hearing. Until the present crisis is over, any comment from you will be automatically deleted without even being read. Shanah Tovah    -ED.


  9. Victor

    Sep 23, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    ‘Really feel that us Jews are blessed to be able to work as one almost all round the world and it’s something we all should feel very proud of. 

    To to stand as one be united and be able to keep our eyes open BH

    shana Tova’

  10. Mordechai

    Sep 24, 2014 at 3:05 am

    ‘Dear Editor, In light of your response to Choni I would be interested to find out if you think/believe that making Aliyah is the right thing to do


    Shalom Mordechai – I certainly believe in, actively promote and have worked closely with The Israel Centre SA (part of the Jewish Agency) for the past eight years. I, too, would hope to make Aliyah one day.
    \nIn answer to your question, I think making Aliyah is a personal choice.
    \nThe history with Choni and the SA Jewish media is that he is a troll. He has major issues with the Lubavitch organisation and the galut. Towards this end, he harasses anyone and anything, often totally unrelated to tp the topics, on almost every story posted. So, if the Chief Rabbi of SA issues a Yom Tov message, Choni will try and castigate him saying, for example, that there should be no Jews in SA, no Chief Rabbi or the Chief Rabbi should have told everyone to make aliyah.
    \nOr if the Beth Din issues a kashrut notice or a notice about an eruv being down, Choni will castigate them for making it easier for people to live in the galut. If Jewish kids stand for a university SRC, he will tell them they should not be living in SA. Many of these comments are completely unrelated to to the stories and we are bombarded with many posts a day from him, and several complaints a day from fellow users  feeling harassed. We even have a number of contributors who will only write for us on condition that we do not allow Choni to troll them. He knows this.
    \nThat, in essence, is what this is about    -ED


  11. You know who

    Sep 24, 2014 at 9:30 am

    ‘Hello Mordechai,

    I don’t think Ant will publish this comment, but if he does I doubt if he is the right person to ask for advice about Aliyah. I’m so glad you brought the subject up.

    Please contact me at . I will gladly furnish you with much literature about Aliyah.

    P.S. All that Ant. has written about me is true.

    My whole mission in life at this time is to promote Aliyah by any means possible. If I offend some people at times all I can do is apologise.

    PPS I myself made Aliyah at the age of 75.’

  12. You know who

    Sep 24, 2014 at 10:35 am

    ‘ To SAJR on line .Thanks for the publicity. It’s the best Yom Tov present I could have received. I’ve already had some positive calls.

    Choni Davidowitz

  13. Cyril Ziman

    Sep 25, 2014 at 7:33 am

    ‘The fact that you might be irritated with  this person referred to by you as Choni does not entitle you to engage in loshon hora or defame and embarrass him. You need simply do as you threaten, namely not publish his so-called trolling, and refrain from publishing libelous statements about him. I do not know who he is and my complaint does not arise from any personal relationship. It is directed at a clear abuse by you of your status which brings discredit to your publication. ‘

  14. Choni Davidowitz

    Sep 27, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    ‘To Cyril Ziman,

    Thanks for your support. My full name is Choni Davidowitz (82) and Ant. has been ‘picking’ on me for the last 5 years.

    As far as I know I am the only user who has constantly stood up for, and vigorously promoted Aliyah for the young generation. This has obviously annoyed him, to the point that he has often threatened to silence me entirely. However, I believe that in his heart he really agrees with me that Aliyah is vital, so he continues to tolerate my comments, in spite of my trolling.

    The only time that Ant. really ‘defamed’ me was when he wrote a ‘blog’ on Dec. 1st 2013, which really was hurtful and untrue. ( it can be read under ‘blogs’ on this website.).

    Once again Cyril, thank you for your imput and support

    It is very rare on this site. Have a great year.

  15. David

    Sep 28, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    ‘Thank you Cyril. A Torah response to this disgusting Loshon Hora. PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR LOSHON HORA: Do not attack people for having different views. There is an issue of loshon hora here. See Shmiras Haloshon by the Chofetz Chaim. Choni is entitled to his views and to ask anyone what they like. If there are other objectionable matters do not publicise them. STOP speaking loshon hora or frum yidden will stop reading SAJR online.’

  16. Ant Katz

    Sep 29, 2014 at 10:56 am

    ‘Thank you Cyril, and David.
    \nWe shall consider your advice and simply return to the previous position of this website, as is the policy of the printed version of the Jewish Report and simply delete any future trolling by Choni that involves either upsetting writers and users by his trolling on the subjects of Aliyah, the Rabbinate or Chabad – when it is either-off topic or includes loshen hora.
    \nI have known Choni and Miriam for over five years and am fond of them both. Having previously banned him on many occasions, I have of late been trying to ‘train’ Choni not to intimidate or insult other users by trolling. We believe that if the Chief Rabbi posts a message or in named in a story, for example, it is an act of trolling when Choni insults Rabbi Goldstein and tells him he should not be making life easier in the galut and should be encouraging the community to move to Israel.
    \nOn a recent story headlined: ANC, ALLIES SUPPORT RETAIL BOYCOTT, for example, the first of 12 current comments was from Choni, which was not moderated and can be read at this link. Choni asked several well-known Jewish voices: “Are you still as proudly Jewish S.Africans as you were, or is that pride waning? … Time to wake up Jewish leaders. Our young Jews must leave.” Neither this comment nor the people named had anything whatsoever to do with the story. The reason this was not deleted was simply to observe an SA media practice of always publishing critique of ourselves or items that refer to senior staff – in this case the Chairman of our Board was named.
    \nThe 12th comment on the above-mentioned story is from another senior member of the community, whose anonymity we will respect, who writes to Choni: “I presume you live in Israel, Choni, otherwise who are you to tell everyone else that Israel is the only place to be, and we are all in Exile. I certainly am not in exile, and I don’t live in Israel.”

    \nSadly, due to circumstances beyond their control, Choni and Miriam do, in fact, live in Joburg. However, frustratingly, Choni does refuse to accept that anyone else should have circumstances that keep them in SA and is angered by anyone else who in any way makes it easier for other Jews to live in SA.
    \nAs a matter of interest, Choni wrote to me just prior to Yom Tov and included in his message: “I really do apologise for all the ‘agro’ and pain I have caused… I am really passionate about my mission which I feel was given to me by Hashem… your outlet is the primary conduit for my ‘work’… I know that sometimes I’ve been a ‘pain … but thats the way I am. My task is enormous, and sometimes I use unwelcome language to some. However, as long as I can, I feel I must carry on. Your ‘help’ as been invaluable. Please don’t cut me off. I will do my best not to mention any names in the future.”
    \nHow does one deal with this? How does one publish without ever allowing what would otherwise be considered loshen hora, these are issues all Jewish editors have to face. Even those of frum media.
    \nAnt Katz
    \ ‘

  17. Elaine

    Sep 29, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    ‘Choni, his wife and daughter live in…..South Africa. And benefit from the services of our communal institutions, funded by people who have not made Aliyah.’

  18. Choni

    Sep 29, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    ‘Elaine, You are quite right in exposing my place of residence, but remember there are thousands of Israelis like myself who have been living in S.Africa for many years. They too have been and still are receiving benefits from Jewish organizations. Should they also have no right to promote Aliyah?’

  19. Akiva Peretz

    Oct 1, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Editor, in a bid to ensure loshon hora is kept at a minimum here, and to keep this website and its comment section clean and not full  on nonsense, it might be better in future just to remove posts that are made by people who admit to trolling and having missions to agitate others. I respect all views, but this is getting out of hand and I believe rather removing these posts will allow you not to be forced into speaking loshon hora.

    \nFeedback sincerely appreciated  -ED


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