By Lay of the Land cofounders David E. Kaplan, Rolene Marks and Yair Chelouche.
The cruel murder in the Old City of Jerusalem of Eliyahu (“Eli”) Kay, a young man and recent immigrant from South Africa has shocked the nation as it has the South African community in Israel and the Jewish community in South Africa.
Who it has not shocked – which is shocking – is the political leadership in South Africa!
It was a brutal gunning down in cold blood of the 25-year-old former South African and the devastating news sent shockwaves of grief from Modiin in Israel to Johannesburg, London and around the world. What is astounding, not to mention hurtful, is that this brutal murder was met neither with comment nor any wishes of condolence or offers of assistance to the Kay family from the ANC government or from the official opposition party – the Democratic Alliance.
Their collective silence was and remains deafening!
Only last week, Lay of the Land published an article on the hysterical response of the ANC government in its vehement opposition of South Africa participating in the 2021 Miss Universe pageant next month in Eilat, Israel.
It appears the ANC has plenty of time to bully a young woman about participation in a beauty pageant – but no time for outrage or to offer condolences to a grieving family.
While the issue of a beauty competition riled up the South African government to take a highly-publicised position as it were of major national importance, the brutal murder of a South African on the other hand was met with only official silence. The common denominator or explanation to both sets of bizarre behaviour by the South African ANC government – the hysterical response to a South African participating in a beauty pageant and the silence following the murder of a South African by a terrorist – was Israel, the national homeland of the Jewish People.
After 2000 years of exile and horrendous persecution, Jews have a name for this – ANTISEMITISM.
Compare the reticence of the South African government with the choice words of the representative of the Israeli government at the funeral of Eli in Jerusalem. Israel’s Minister of Diaspora Affairs, MK Nachman Shai – who in 2017 led a 5-member delegation of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) to South Africa “to promote dialogue, understanding and cooperation between Israel and South Africa” – spoke of strangers to the Kay family who at the funeral, felt like family:
“So many people came today to say goodbye to you. Many never had the opportunity to meet you, who only learned your name yesterday and decided they wanted to be with you to say goodbye.”
In sad contrast, the only “goodbye” the South African government would be happy to say would be as a final farewell to the State of Israel! After all compare South Africa’s ANC government downgrading its diplomatic relations with Israel – with no ambassador since 2018 – while in 2015, it welcomed to South Africa a Hamas delegation, even hosting it in the South African Parliament in Cape Town. This is the same Hamas that is committed to the destruction of Israel and who only this week was designated a terrorist organization by the UK, joining the US, the EU and other powers.
This is also the same Hamas that praised and took credit for the murder of Eli Kay. Official Hamas media identified the assailant Fadi Abu Shkhaydam as a “leader of the Hamas movement in East Jerusalem” saying “the operation” was designed to be a warning to Israel, which it said would “pay for the inequities” at the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
Writing in the South African national daily, Business Day, Kenneth Mokgatlhe of Zeerust makes the observation before posing the astute question:
“A hysterical SA government withdraws its support for a young woman to participate in the Miss Universe contest in Israel, but doesn’t say a word about a South African Jew killed by terrorists. Surely there is something wrong with this?”
Is this the direction South Africa is morally heading – associating and identifying with the murderers of Jews?
Clearly concerned at the government’s silence of a murder of a fellow South African by a Hamas gunman, the South African Zionist Federation released the following statement on the 22 November 2021:
“It has been over 24 hours since Eliyahu David Kay, a Jewish South African national who emigrated to Israel, was murdered in an act of terrorism in Jerusalem by a Palestinian gunman affiliated with Hamas. The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) condemns the deafening silence from the South African Government and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) on this issue. There has been no message of condolence to the family of the deceased, nor any public condemnation of this attack. DIRCO has in the past issued statements against terrorist attacks in the City of Jerusalem, and it is appropriate for them to do so now in respect of a South African national.
Hamas is an extremist organisation, as recently confirmed by the United Kingdom which designated Hamas as a terrorist organisation and has outlawed support for the group. This antisemitic and anti-Israel hate group gladly claimed responsibility for the killing of an innocent civilian and injuring others as the gunman opened fire in the Old City of Jerusalem.
We call on the South African Government to publicly condemn this heinous incident and to offer support and assistance to the family of the deceased.”
To date, this appeal from the SAZF to the SA government has been met with silence. Despite its citizen being caught up in a bloody terror attack that also left three people injured, the SA government’s silence paradoxically speaks volumes. Murder of Jews by terrorists, when carried out by Palestinians is perfectly acceptable to the ANC.
It’s not – it is gross, disgusting, flagrant antisemitism.
The SA government is sending a chilling message to its Jewish community and it’s a message that’s being read loud and clear and may well explain why this year there will be more olim (immigrants) to Israel from South Africa in 25 years.
These Olim will be following in the heroic direction of Eli Kay and his family taking a journey that is securing the Jewish state for all eternity.
In the words of Dr. Nachman Shai (Minister of Diaspora Affairs) at the funeral, “Eli, you died a hero, an example to all.”
While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves. LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO