Positioning Statement

The SAJBD is the umbrella representative spokesbody and civil rights lobby of the SA Jewish community. It promotes the safety and welfare of South African Jewry, including combating antisemitism in all its forms, and builds bridges of friendship and understanding between Jews and the broader South African population.   

​The SAJBD calls on SA Jewry to #ShowUpForShabbat

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies calls on SA Jewry to #ShowUpForShabbat as part of the global campaign spearheaded by the American Jewish Committee (AJC). This is in response to the horrific attack during Shabbat prayer services at the Tree of Life Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, which left 11 people dead. This coming Shabbat on Friday, 2 November 2018 and Saturday, 3 November 2018 - we call on the Jewish community to flock to synagogues throughout South Africa in support of this powerful initiative.

The SAJBD was heartened by an email we received from Mr Solly Hattia, a member of the Muslim community.

“My experiences living amongst a Jewish community.  My first engagement with Jewish people began when the company I worked for merged with a Jewish family-owned-business and to whom I was then to report to as my new CEO.  My first encounter with my new Boss, Ronnie Norwitz, was on a Friday when he came down to my office at around 12 looked at his watch and said “Solly aren't you going to be late for your Friday prayer?”  Never before in all my years of working, had I ever had this courtesy from a boss!  His other interesting comment on my return from the Mosque was all ways, "Friday's are good days ".  Ronnie would always say this with the gesture of a clenched fist swinging his arm through the air as if he was going to hit someone.  He always greeted me with a smile and a kind word.  Braai days at work you would find him at my fire naturally. 

David Saks

THE REAL PROBLEM WITH IQBAL JASSAT’S LATEST SCREED

At the biennial conference of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies Gauteng Council next week, Gauteng Jewry will have the first opportunity of engaging directly with President Ramaphosa since his assumption of the presidency earlier this year. Rather than delivering the traditional keynote address, Mr Ramaphosa will be exchanging views with eminent business leader Stephen Koseff on challenges currently facing South Africa, what the Jewish community is (or could be) doing to help address them and how each sees the future of the country and its people. In other words, it is not about what this country should be doing to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian, or any other foreign policy issue, but is framed as being a South African conversation between fellow South Africans on South African issues.

Cosatu's Tony Ehrenreich Censured for Threatening Jewish Community

On 13 August 2014, then Western Cape Cosatu chairman Tony Ehrenreich posted a comment on Facebook calling for revenge attacks against the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) and other “Zionist supporters” in retaliation for the deaths of Palestinian civilians. Amongst other inflammatory comments, he wrote, “The time has come to say very clearly that if a woman or child is killed in Gaza, then the Jewish board of deputies, who are complicit, will feel the wrath of the People of SA with the age old biblical teaching of an eye for an eye”.  

Charisse Zeifert

Charisse Zeifert writes for Saturday Citizen

Have you heard the joke where a Jew, an Afrikaner and an Indian walk into a Shebeen? It sounds like the kind of “witty” yarn that EFF leader Julius Malema would spin. Oh, wait, actually, he has already told tales about different minorities – singling them out for abuse. Most recently, he “cleverly” managed to insult two minority groups at the same time, when he said: “There’s a group of white right-wingers (read Afrikaners) who are being trained by Jews in Pretoria to be snipers.” (sic)

Jewish Affairs Rosh Hashanah 2018

We are pleased to announce that the Rosh Hashanah 2018 issue of Jewish Affairs has been posted on our website. The printed version will be sent to subscribers shortly. As always, we ask that you assist us in widening the reach of the journal by forwarding this message to anyone who may be interested.

In May this year, the State of Israel celebrated its 70th anniversary. To mark that memorable milestone, the Rosh Hashanah 2018 issue of Jewish Affairs is devoted almost entirely to the subject of Israel, and in particular to the noteworthy role that South African Jews played in its birth and early struggle for survival. The editorial board thanks all those who responded to its invitation to contribute their own memories and perspectives for this special JA issue.   

SAJBD pays tribute to Veronica Sobukwe

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies pays tribute to Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe, and extends its condolences to the Sobukwe family on her passing. Mrs Sobukwe will always have an honoured place in South African history for her loyal, steadfast support for her legendary husband, the great Pan-Africanist leader Robert Sobukwe, during the struggle against apartheid.

Wendy Kahn

Our Madiba Moment of Reconciliation

On Mandela Day last week, sandwiches were made and handed out, blankets knitted and distributed and speeches given by impressive and inspiring world leaders. It is fitting then, that, on that auspicious day, I experienced what I believe was a profound ‘Mandela moment’, one that exemplified the Madiba values and spirit.

Women's Day 2018

As we prepare to celebrate Women’s Day tomorrow, the SAJBD urges all South Africans to do more to combat the scourge of violence against women in our society.  There is a critical need for greater awareness, education and the enforcement of the law around gender-based violence, as well as discrimination in the workplace and in other spheres of daily life.  Our young girls should also be empowered through education, skills and development.

Charisse Zeifert

Charisse Zeifert writes for News24

OPINION: Religious tolerance and the Middle East conflict

In light of all the brouhaha around the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the question arises whether it is possible to report on events surrounding it in a fair and balanced manner.

Shashi Naidoo & BDS

Every year, thousands of South Africans of all races, religions and beliefs travel to and from Israel for a whole host of different reasons. They enter via various border crossings and do so as they would in any other country. Shashi Naidoo chose to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories to educate herself about the region and the conflict, as indeed all those who wish to understand the conflict further, should do. 

SAJBD welcomes apology over antisemitic comments

At a meeting last night held at Ian Levitt Attorneys in Sandton, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) withdrew criminal charges against two Johannesburg men.  This followed a settlement agreement reached between the parties. 

The charges laid against Tameez Seedat and Muhammad Hattia were in response to threatening and antisemitic comments that they made on a Whatsapp group, Sneakerheads.   

Condolences

The SAJBD is saddened by the passing of award winning photographer David Goldblatt today.  His work in documenting various aspects of daily life throughout South Africa, made him a house-hold name.  

Flurry of antisemitic incidences against SA Jews. "Enough is enough!"

Over the past 24 hours, a flurry of viciously antisemitic and threatening attacks have been made against South African Jews, both on social media and in direct face-to-face encounters. The incidents, which are being followed up by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), have generated great anxiety and anger in the Jewish community and screenshots of the offending posts have gone viral

The SAJBD has been notified of a number of appalling antisemitic comments posted on social media recently

Dear Community Member

The SAJBD has been notified of a number of appalling antisemitic comments posted on social media platforms by a number of different people over the past 24 hours.  We have been investigating the incidents and have now established the identities of two of the perpetrators. A third case, which occurred more recently, is currently being followed up. 

The various posts are in clear violation of South Africa’s laws prohibiting hate speech. Please be assured that the SAJBD is dealing with the matter and will be taking appropriate steps against the guilty parties.  We are now in communication with our legal advisers to decide on the most effective course of action. 

BDS Bullying tactics are hollow victory

It took less than 48 hours for the BDS to do a complete turn-around over Shashi Naidoo.  On Sunday, Ms Naidoo was the devil incarnate, the target of multiple death threats for having dared to tweet comments supportive of Israel.  Now, having apologised for her ‘heresy’, she is suddenly a celebrity. Indeed,  the intention now is to set her up as a poster girl for the BDS movement.   Shashi Naidoo, a local television personality, took to Social Media over the weekend to express the true facts about the Israel-Palestinian conflict. 

Enough of intimidation & blackmail against those who seek to exercise their basic Constitutional Rights

Earlier this year, the ANC repeatedly denounced artist DJ Black Coffee simply for exercising his democratic right to perform in Israel. Then civil society went for journalist Gareth Cliff, depicting him as a moral pariah for daring to put forward an alternate opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Now Dr Mpho Phalatse, MMC for the DA in Gauteng, has become the target of hysterical condemnation for having expressed support for Israel at a South African Friends of Israel conference on Sunday.  This is despite her subsequent clarification that she did so in her personal capacity. 

David Saks

David Saks says media reaction plays into Hamas' hands, which guarantees further civilian deaths ISRAEL AND GAZA: WHO IS REALLY TO BLAME?

Feelings continue to run high over the recent deaths and injuries along the Israel-Gaza border. In view of the completely one-sided nature of the confrontation, it is easy to buy into the “brutal massacre of innocents” narrative being assiduously propagated by anti-Israel agitators. Emotional, knee-jerk reactions are nevertheless unhelpful when trying to understand how such a tragedy could have taken place in the first place and, more importantly, how they might be prevented from reoccurring in the future. 

Zev Krengel talks to Mpho Tsedu on SABC

Watch now

SAJBD condemns antisemitic statements

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies is appalled by the unambiguously antisemitic statements made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday. In a chilling revival of classic expressions of anti-Jewish hatred, Abbas sought to justify the historical persecution of Jews by claiming that Jews had brought this upon themselves by their alleged immoral and harmful actions.

Celebrating Israel’s 70 years in song with Yonina

Watch now