The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) extends a heartfelt and warm welcome to His Excellency the honourable Eliav Belotsercovsky, the incoming Israeli Ambassador to South Africa, on his presentation of diplomatic credentials to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
We encourage the South African government to view Israel as an important ally, partner and friend in Africa and the Middle East. Israel is connected by land to the African continent. The Sinai Peninsula is the bridge that for thousands of years has geographically linked the African and Jewish people. History has intertwined the people of Africa with the Abrahamic faiths that trace back to Zion and the land of Israel, and both the physicality and spirituality of Israel and Africa are deeply linked.
We ask the SA government to tone down its anti-Israel rhetoric and become pragmatic as to how our country can benefit from positive relations with Israel and all she has to offer. Nor does our government need to be “anti-Israel” in order to show support for ordinary Palestinians. South Africa is in a unique position, much like Egypt, to speak with both Israel and her self-declared enemies, and not only can facilitate positive improvements for Palestinians but particularly bring the divided Palestinian leadership to the peace table, where Israel is forever waiting. South Africa can play a role, using her own history, to moderate the Palestinian position away from violence towards reconciliation, peace and negotiations. This can positively improve the life, outlook and standard of living for ordinary Palestinians and not only their leadership. South Africa ought to place itself in the centre of peaceful and productive Israeli-Palestinian relations, and not at the periphery where it is unable to be an effective mediator. We urge the South African government to ignore extremist voices in our country who insist that our foreign policy has to be narrow, reactionary and unilateral.
Israel has much to offer South Africa in terms of cutting-edge technology and innovation which can directly assist in our challenges of water, electricity and renewable energy. Partnering with Israel can only better the lives of South Africans across our beloved country, as Israel has done in many parts of the Middle East and Africa.