At the time of writing, the month-long crisis on our university campuses remains unresolved. The next few days will probably be critical in determining whether the universities concerned will reopen in time to allow students to complete the academic year. As hardly needs be stressed, this is a critical issue for our country. For our country to succeed, it is abundantly clear that all South Africans need access to higher education. For our own part, we strongly encourage dialogue between government, the universities and student representatives aimed at achieving an solution that takes into account the requirements and concerns of all stakeholders. Every effort must be made to reduce as much as possible the gaps between the various parties and to find a balance between what people want to see and what is practically achievable, in both the short and long term. These are troubled times, but we I feel there is sufficient resilience and goodwill to find a constructive way forward.
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies joins all South African in mourning the loss of Ahmed Kathrada, one of the founding fathers of our democracy and anti-Apartheid stalwart. The heroism and self-sacrifice that he showed in taking a stand against injustice will be his enduring legacy. Our condolences go to his family and friends.
All South Africans have an equal right to safety and security, regardless of where they might be living. This means that equal attention needs to be paid to addressing problems of crime and violence that occur outside the main urban areas.
Confronted with the charge that Israel is equivalent to Apartheid South Africa, it is tempting simply to retort that it is probably the only country in the Middle East that is not an apartheid state. One could further make an ostensibly compelling case as to why this is so. Take the example of Iran, where the only non-Muslims allowed to become Members of Parliament are those elected by their respective communities to the five seats reserved for religious minorities. Does this not call to mind the separate seats for ‘Bantu’ and ‘Coloured’ representatives elected on separate voters’ rolls in the apartheid parliament? In Yemen, there reportedly remain restrictions on Jews with regard to places of residence - Group Areas Act?