Issued by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) and the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) on Monday 9 October 2023.

The horrific images coming out of Israel have left the entire world shocked and disgusted.  There can never be justification for the barbaric murder, kidnapping and disrespect for human life that has emerged over the past weekend.  The terrorist group Hamas’s unprovoked and barbaric attack on innocent Israeli civilians include the massacre of teenagers at a music festival, the abduction of children and elderly women and the killing of helpless babies on the streets. This is reminiscent of the Holocaust. It is pure evil, and there are no shades of grey.

The South African Jewish community stands with Israel.  We express our prayers, sympathies and condolences to all of Am Yisrael living through this nightmare.  The Jewish community will be holding prayer sessions, solidarity events and actions in support of Israel over the coming days.

There has been unequivocal condemnation of Hamas from the international community. This includes many South African political parties, Christian friends, ordinary South Africans and African countries.

We are grateful that many cities, including New York, Kiev and Berlin have lit up buildings with the Israeli flag.  Yet, in the wake of the most appalling massacre of Israeli civilians in her history, and one of the worst terrorist atrocities anywhere, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) still contrives to lay the blame and justification for Hamas’s heinous crimes at the door of the Jewish State. In doing so, it uncritically repeats the baseless and inflammatory accusation that Hamas and other terrorist groups have hurled at Israel in order to ‘justify’ their evil and inhuman deeds.

As a community, we are appalled and deeply saddened that Dirco was unable to show the slightest bit of empathy for the callous murder of Jewish life.

Furthermore, the assertion by Dirco that Al-Aqsa Mosque has been destroyed is fake news.  There has been absolutely no destruction, or desecration, of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.  There are also groups in our country who are also making these false claims and are publicly supporting the internationally-designated terrorist organisation Hamas and its murderous actions. They are planning marches against our community and organising rallies on university campuses.  It is crystal clear: when you support Hamas, you are supporting the murder of innocent Jews.

There are many South Africans living in Israel.  The SA Jewish community is in constant communication with Israel and are monitoring the situation.  We have set up a hotline for families to keep them informed of events as they unfold, which is available on Whatsapp at +27 81 880 5217