The South African Friends of Israel (SAFI) note the South African Rugby Union’s (SARU) decision to withdraw their Mzanzi Challenge invitation to international qualifying team, the Tel Aviv Heats – simply because they reside in Israel.

SARU have shamelessly succumbed to the political pressure of the BDS crowd, and are amending fixtures for the sporting competition as such. This is in direct violation of Section 5.3 of the SARU constitution, which clearly states a mandate to pursue “policies and programmes, at national and all other levels, aimed at redressing imbalances of the past and creating a genuinely non-racial, non-sexist, non-political and democratic dispensation for rugby in South Africa”.

It is saddening to see that SARU have allowed ANC politics and a BDS agenda to define who is welcome to participate in sporting events in our beautiful country.

This is particularly devastating when Israel has consistently shown itself to be a valuable partner for sustainable development in its relations with all other African nations. As a matter of fact, Israeli technology and innovation have provided a stable water supply to over half a million people living in rural communities In South Africa. And yet, we will not invite them over for a rugby match.

It is sad to see that Israel, as the only democracy in the Middle East, is being treated in this manner by SA sporting structures. Israel is home to a multicultural society where the rights of all religions, minorities, ethnicities and beliefs are protected and promoted.

SAFI will be taking action against SARU for allowing political interference in our sporting events and will communicate these steps in due course.

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Pamela Ngubane

Pamela Ngubane is General Manager at South African Friends of Israel, an organisation promoting peace in Israel and the Middle East, and interfaith relations between South Africans.

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