Jews must flee SA to Israel - top official

2013-11-06 11:51
Avigdor Lieberman (AFP)

Avigdor Lieberman (AFP)

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Cape Town - South African Jewish organisations have dismissed an "alarmist" call by a former Israeli foreign minister for South African Jews to emigrate to Israel.

The Mercury reported on Wednesday that Israeli deputy prime minister and former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote on his Facebook page that the South African government had created an anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic atmosphere and a pogrom (a massacre or persecution of a minority group) in South Africa is "only a matter of time".

"I call on all Jews who still live there to come to Israel as soon as possible and without delay, before it is too late," Lieberman wrote on Facebook.

This was in response to comments by International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane that South African ministers do not visit Israel and have curtailed senior leadership contact with the Israeli regime until the situation in the country improves.

However, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies and SA Zionist Federation labelled Lieberman's comments as "alarmist" and "inflammatory", adding that Lieberman was misguided and irresponsible to believe that the consequences of the government statement would lead to pogroms against the South African Jewish community.

Both organisations also expressed outrage at Nkoana-Mashabane's comments, saying the South African government had expressed its support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and would need to engage with all parties involved in order to make this a reality.

Meanwhile, ANC MP Ben Turok told The Mercury that South African Jews were safe and secure under the ANC-led government and that Lieberman was "clutching at straws".

Read more on:    sajbd  |  maite nkoana-mashabane  |  avigdor lieberman  |  ben turok  |  israel  |  politics  |  middle east peace

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