On 5 April 2023, the South African government released a press statement condemning the Israeli Defence Forces’ (IDF) actions against rioters at the Al-Aqsa Mosque last week. Tragically, the Department of International Relations (DIRCO) once again only offered South Africans a skewed version of events, having communicated on the issue in a manner that reversed the cause and effect of the incident. It omitted any mention of the deliberate stoking of violence and tension, as orchestrated by Hamas-affiliated groupings. 

Al-Aqsa Incident 

The Israel Police arrested and removed over 350 Hamas-linked extremists who barricaded themselves in the Temple Mount. These individuals, many of them masked, smuggled fireworks, clubs and stones into the Mosque with the intent to cause maximum harm, threatening peaceful Muslim worshippers on the Temple Mount, as well as Jews praying below at the Western Wall.  After many attempts to remove the individuals from the Mosque using dialogue failed, police were forced to enter the compound in order to remove the individuals, in order to allow the Fajr prayer to take place as planned. Following the removal of the violent rioters, Israel Police forces left the Temple Mount, and the mosque was cleaned after the rioters vandalised, defiled, and desecrated it. Tens of thousands of Muslims were then able to continue their prayers. 

Violence over Passover

The violent events that followed this incident, over Passover, have been numerous. The only Jewish nation in the world was under attack from rockets that were fired from the territories of Syria and Lebanon. Violent car ramming terror attacks and shootings also ensued. A number of people were killed or injured in terrorist incidents, including foreign tourists, Arab-Israelis, women and children. A summary of all attacks against Jewish people, women and children is included below:

Thursday, 6 April 2023 

  • A barrage of 34 rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israel, in the worst attack since 2006, 2 innocent Israelis were injured with extensive damage to property; 
  • The City of Ashkelon had to open public bomb shelters, anticipating further rocket attacks from Gaza; and,
  • A terror shooting attack takes place at the Geva Binyamin-Adam junction near Jerusalem, injuring another innocent Israeli

Friday, 7 April 2023

  • Missile sirens begin sounding in Southern Israel at midnight in Sderot, a town that has historically been at the receiving end of hundreds of missiles from the neighbouring Gaza Strip. Citizens were advised to take shelter immediately on Shabbat due to incoming rockets. Residents were advised to remain close to bomb shelters throughout Passover. The Israeli Air Force sprung into action and began striking terror targets in the Gaza Strip to protect innocent civilians from further harm;
  • A mother and her two young daughters were murdered following a shooting terror attack near the Hamra junction on the Route 57 highway. An initial investigation of the shooting attack found that the gunmen first opened fire at the Israeli-owned car, before it crashed, then opened fire at it again, killing two of the occupants and critically wounding a third. Sisters Maya and Rina, 16 and 21 from Efrat, were identified as the two Israelis killed. Their mother, Leah, died in hospital shortly afterwards, with a bullet in her brain and a second bullet in her upper spine; and,
  • On Friday night a terror ramming attack was reported and resulted in the death of a 30-year-old Italian tourist, with four more innocent Israelis being transported to the hospital as a result.

Saturday, 8 April 2023 

  • The Lebanese Army confirmed that it found more rockets prepared for launch at Israel, in the Qlaileh area; 
  • Explosions were heard in the Golan Heights, with reports indicating that three rockets had been fired from Syria: one landed in Syria, one in an open area in Israel, and one in Jordan; and, 
  • A terrorist infiltration alert was issued in Asael following sounds of gunfire. Residents were instructed to enter their homes and lock doors and windows immediately. 

Tuesday, 11 April 2023

  • Terrorists opened fire at an IDF checkpoint near Huwara.

Over one weekend, innocent Israelis in civilian areas were subject to a barrage of rocket-fire from two neighbouring countries and the Gaza strip, 4 violent shooting attacks and one terror ramming attack. There can be no argument that Jewish life is under severe threat in the Middle East today and that immediate action is required to save, protect and defend those who call the region their ancestral – and current – home. 

This, after the Israeli Security Agency Chief, Ronen Bar, confirmed that Israeli security forces have foiled more than 200 terror attacks since the start of 2023.

The IDF and Israeli Police are one of the most restrained services found anywhere in the world, facing unparalleled levels of terrorism and aggression, and yet they endure the highest level of international scrutiny. Their ability to defend and protect ensures Israel’s survival, and through Israel the Jewish People. They are a moral force for good – where any individual case of misconduct is always investigated and prosecuted. 

Shameful DIRCO ignores plight of Jewish people in Israel

DIRCO should be ashamed of their statement on 6 April 2023. The IDF have put their lives on the line to protect Jewish people – and all other Israelis – over Passover this year. 

DIRCO’s policy position on the Palestine issue appears to be led by the narrative offered by Hassan Nasrallah, chief of the Lebanese terror movement Hezbollah, which claimed on Thursday that recent world developments were serving “the axis of resistance” against Israel. 

While a growing number of violent terror attacks continues to threaten the survival of the Jewish state today, Israel remains a home to a multicultural society where the rights of all religions, minorities, ethnicities and beliefs are protected and promoted. 

The SAZF calls on DIRCO to end their hostility towards Israel, by adopting a de-hyphenated approach to the conflict between Palestine and Israel, in a manner that correctly reflects the extreme suffering, loss of life and violence experienced by Jewish people at the hands of Palestinian extremists and Hamas terrorists this year. 


IMAGE: A damaged car in Ashdod following a direct hit by a rocket fired from Gaza, Israel Defence Forces