Article source: Supplied

As a show of support to the people of South Africa and Israel, Nkosi Phakama Shembe and members of his congregation attended a Friday night synagogue service and dinner at The Sydenham Highlands North Hebrew Congregation hosted by the SA Friends of Israel. The Shembe have more than nine million members in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal and they stand with Israel according to Nkosi Phakama Shembe, a Gauteng community leader.

Shembe leadership photographed with leaders of the Jewish community at Sydenham Shul prior to shabbat

Despite the ANC and EFF’s stance on Israel, many millions of South African citizens support Israel. In his address, Nkosi Phakama Shembe expressed solidarity with the Jewish community and affirmed the significance of supporting Israel for the betterment of all South Africans. He also underscored the connections between Sabbath observance in both the Jewish and Nazareth Baptist traditions.

Bafana Modise, spokesperson, SA Friends of Israel said, “This meeting shows that South Africans do not all support the government’s stance on Hamas and its anti-Israel position. South Africans support Israel and peace and by coming together at events like this we can unite for a better future for our country.”

Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein addresses the Shembe prior to Shabbat in Sydenham shul

Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein and Rabbi Yehuda Stern spoke of the importance of interfaith dialogue, solidarity and mutual respect among different religious communities.

Messages of support included Rowan Polovin, National Chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, who emphasised the importance of fostering positive relations between South Africa and Israel. Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs Amichai Chikli, conveyed gratitude for the unwavering support extended by South African communities, emphasising the shared values that unite them.

Modise concluded, “The South African Friends of Israel look forward to continuing their efforts in building bridges across communities and promoting peace and understanding in South Africa and beyond.”

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Date published: 25/03/2024
Feature image: Shembe members seated in the pews at Sydenham Shul

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