What follows is an update on today’s Parliamentary vote on Israel-South Africa relations.

Today the EFF put forward a motion in Parliament for the South African Government to suspend diplomatic relations with Israel and close the Israeli embassy in Pretoria. In the run up to the vote, the Israeli government recalled the Israeli Ambassador for consultation in Jerusalem. The ANC introduced an amendment to the motion calling for the suspension of ties until Israel commits to a unilateral ceasefire with Hamas as well as a United Nations facilitated settlement that leads to “lasting peace”. The ANC and EFF voted for the amendment whilst the DA, FF, IFP and ACDP amongst others voted against, and thus the amended resolution passed with a majority in the National Assembly.

It must be noted that Parliament has oversight but not jurisdiction on the Executive branch of government, which consists of the President, Deputy President and Ministers. Parliamentary motions are politically persuasive but not legally binding. The resolution will now go to the Executive, which has the authority on whether to implement it or not. It must be noted that Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor was quoted ahead of the vote saying that the closure of the Embassy was unlikely and that the “breaking of diplomatic relations with Israel will be counterproductive as it will also affect our representative office in Ramallah.”

As of this time, the Embassy remains open and operational in place in South Africa with all consular services, flights to and from Israel and other interactions taking place in the usual manner.

The SAZF continues to work for the betterment of ties between South Africa and Israel and considers this resolution in Parliament to be hostile to this cause. It is prejudicial to the constitutional rights of the South African Jewish Community alongside Christians and all those who have religious and spiritual ties to the Holy Land.

We continue strongly and vocally to oppose the hostile actions and rhetoric by the South African government. We call and hope for the Israeli Ambassador to return to South Africa as soon as possible, and for the South African Ambassador to return to Israel. We wish to thank all those parties who voted against this amendment once again showing that Israel has support in South Africa and not the narrow agenda of the ANC.

Am Yisrael Chai.