Skip To Content
Breaking News

South African Jews Blast Israel for Blocking Minister’s Trip to West Bank

Two South African Jewish organizations criticized Israel for refusing an entry visa to South Africa’s minister of higher education to visit the West Bank.

In a news release Tuesday, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Zionist Federation said Israel’s decision last week to deny Blade Nzimande a visa was “most regrettable.”

Both groups said they have long argued that regular interaction between Israel and South Africa, including mutual visits by political leaders and government officials — as well as businesspeople, media, tourists and families — benefits both countries and fosters greater understanding between them.

“We believe both countries should encourage greater interaction at all levels and lift restrictions in this regard, in the interests of relations between Israel and South Africa and the broader interests of peace and stability,” the statement said.

The groups also said they support a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and remain committed to working with the South African government to help both peoples in achieving this goal.

Nzimande’s trip had been intended to promote research collaboration between the University of Johannesburg and Birzeit University near Ramallah, in the Palestinian Authority.

Nzimande has previously called for South Africa to boycott Israeli imports and said last year at the University of Johannesburg that Israel was waging a “vicious campaign” against the Palestinians.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.