Photo Credit: Google Maps
The former South African embassy in Ramat Gan, Israel, 2017

The king of the Zulu nation warned South Africa’s ruling party last week not to sever ties with Israel. King Goodwill Zwelithini underscored during a speech to African National Congress (ANC) leaders that South Africa’s relationship with the Jewish State is important in very basic ways. Zwelithini leads a nation of more than 12.5 million people.

Last month (December 2017) the ANC – the highest decision-making body in South Africa’s ruling party – unanimously resolved to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a liaison office,  “In order to give our practical expression of support to the oppressed people of Palestine.” The South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Zionist Federation both condemned the resolution. “South African Jewry feel betrayed by the liberation movement of the ANC structures and are deeply disappointed that they were persuaded by those with (an) obsession to vilify the Jewish state,” their statement read.


King Zwelithini warned the ANC leadership it is essential not to “interfere in things we know nothing about.” He pleaded that the ANC “should not find ourselves involved in wars that we know nothing of, because we will find that the people that we involve ourselves with, in their wars, are the same people that work in ways that can help us with our drought issues, which we are still facing and hasn’t ended because our dams are still not full.

“They can change that and make our dams our source of life,” the king pointed out.

Likewise, the king noted that the South African Zionist Federation and the South African Friends of Israel built two clinics that focus on HIV-related health services, and help with education for surrounding communities. He was supported in his views by Nkosi Bishop Phakama Shembe, a leader of the Shembe Church, part of the Nazareth Baptist Church.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.