Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

7 Nissan 5762 - March 20, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











South African Jews Mourn As Violence Hits Close To Home
by D. Saks, South Africa

A memorial service was held in Johannesburg this week for three young South African victims of the Middle East violence. The three, who died within a fortnight of each other, were the first South African-born casualties of the seventeen-month long Palestinian uprising. Many bereaved family members and friends flew to Israel to attend the funerals, and the killings received substantial coverage in the local South African press.

The most poignant of the three tragedies was that of Michel and Ruthi Malka from Glenhazel in Johannesburg, who arrived in Israel with five children and departed with only four, after their nine-month-old daughter Aviva Malka was amongst those killed in the terror attack on motzei Shabbos Parshas Vayakhel-Pekudei. The family had been visiting Israel to attend a chasunah.

Michel Malka was also seriously injured in the attack, which was carried out by two Palestinian terrorists who tossed grenades and sprayed gunfire on guests in the Jeremy Hotel in Netanya as they were leaving. Both terrorists were subsequently killed by Israeli police after fleeing the scene.

A few days earlier, two South African-born army officers, Sergeant Steven Koenigsberg and Lieutenant David Damelin, were killed in separate Palestinian ambushes. 19 year-old Koenigsberg, who immigrated to Israel with his father in 1999, was killed when Palestinian gunmen opened fire near the Kissufim crossing in the Gaza Strip. Damelin, 29, of Kibbutz Metzar in the Golan Heights, was one of ten soldiers and civilians shot dead by a sniper at an IDF roadblock north of Ofra.

After a relatively quiet start to the year, anti-Israel activity in South Africa is once again intensifying, with a number of protest marches on the American and Israeli embassies taking place in Cape Town and Pretoria. The Muslim Judicial Council, formerly regarded as representing the moderate wing of the country's million-strong Muslim community, last week issued a statement in support of Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad. The statement was condemned by the Jewish Board of Deputies, which expressed dismay at the fact that a hitherto respected mainstream Muslim organization in South Africa should endorse the activities of such extremist and antisemitic groups that have even been declared terror organizations by the United States.


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