The leader of South Africa’s resurgent main opposition party visited Israel, defying President Jacob Zuma who says officials should avoid traveling to the Jewish state.
Mmusi Maimane, leader of the Democratic Alliance, met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders in Jerusalem.
Jewish groups lauded the move, calling it a healthy exchange of ideas.
“Maimane embodies true South African values of dialogue and engagement and has shown vision and courage in these times of great slander against of the State of Israel,” the South Africa Zionist Federation said in a statement.
Zuma, head of the ruling African National Congress, restated the group’s policy to urge officials against visiting Israel in protest of its treatment of the Palestinians.
The DA was once known as a predominantly white party but has broadened its base under Maimane and recently scored major victories in most of the country’s main cities.