Betrayed South African Jews fight back on Human Rights Day for release of the hostages

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Johannesburg – Thursday, 21 March 2024: Despite the South African ANC government’s extreme anti-Israel position, South Africa’s Jews are proudly Zionistic. 21 March is Human Rights Day in South Africa, a national holiday and a significant day in the country’s struggle against apartheid. This year to mark the day, South African Jews have turned several Johannesburg suburbs yellow by tying yellow ribbons around trees in support of the hostages. Johannesburg has the largest man-made urban forest with more than 10 million trees.

Explains Michael Kransdorff, chairman of the Jewish National Fund South Africa, “On Human Rights Day we highlight the plight of the 134 hostages who are being denied their human rights without access to medicines, who have no access to the Red Cross and whose families still don’t know whether they are dead or alive.”

The campaign initiated by the JNF-SA and the Base community has gone viral. Weinberg Family Park was named for the Weinberg family who was involved in the struggle for liberation of South Africa during the apartheid years. This suburban park’s trees were ribboned and #BringThemHome posters were erected by members of the community.

Many South African Jews feel betrayed by the ANC government. A disproportionate number of Jews, like the Weinbergs, fought for human rights and liberation in South Africa whilst the South African government has now turned its back on the human rights of Jews.

Rabbi Aharon Zulberg, of the Base community, said, “We felt that the campaign is a special opportunity to bring our strong support of Israel and the return of our hostages into the streets of Johannesburg – for us as a Jewish community and also as South Africans. ”

A banner highlighting the hostages was also hoisted over Johannesburg’s busy M1 highway by Israel supporters and community members also purchased many yellow ribbons to tie around trees.

Despite the ANC government taking Israel to the International Court of Justice, and its close relationship with both Iran and Hamas they have made no effort to secure the release of the hostages which could end the war. The immediate release of the hostages was specifically called for in the ICJ order of which South Africa is a party.

Saul Jassinowsky, the driving force behind the yellow ribbon campaign explains, “It began as a campaign to rally the community for the return of hostage Daniel Perez who was raised in South Africa. Unfortunately, the community received heartbreaking news this week, that Perez, a division commander in the IDF had been killed as a hero of the Jewish people on 7 October whilst defending our homeland from the Hamas invasion.”

Orna Toeg Director of South Africa desk at KKL-JNF says: “It is a great initiative of the Jewish community of South Africa , supporting Israel in the current situation and raising the importance of bringing all the hostages back home”

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