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“It is for all the brothers and sisters of South Africa to continue the Long Walk to Freedom that he inspired,” said Hazdan, referring to the much-cited term for Mandela’s long imprisonment and battle for democracy.
Jewish leaders suggested it was not the right moment to talk about Mandela’s sometimes contentious relationship with Israel. The ANC forged a close alliance with the Palestinians during the struggle against apartheid, and many South Africans blame Israel for supporting the minority white regime.
Sacks said Mandela’s death should spur Jews and Palestinians to rethink their inflexible stances that have thwarted peace in the MIddle East for decades. He called on Palestinians to study Mandela’s message of respect for one’s enemies and their history.
“The Palestinian leadership has taken positions that are diametrically opposed to the approach that Mandela took,” he said. “They should look at his message and his spirit and take a new path from the one they have followed.”