Photo Credit: Office of the Chief Rabbi
Rabbi Goldstein speaking on October 15 at The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) Rally for Israel.

On October 15, Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, made a speech at The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) Rally for Israel, where he emphasized the distinct difference between the people of South Africa and the government.

“I want to tell the President and the ANC, you are not South Africa. You don’t own this country. It doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to the people of this great nation, the 60 million South Africans, people of faith, of decency, of dignity, of compassion, of morality,” He added that that they shame themselves, but not the country, and “They will be judged by history and judged by G-d for their support of evil. When you support evil, then you are held accountable for the evil that you support, and this president and his party, and this government, is supporting an evil savagery that has shocked the hearts of all decent human beings in the world.”


South Africa’s governing political party, the African National Congress (ANC), has still denounced Hamas’s brutal terrorist attacks of October 7, which resulted in over 1,400 men, women, children, and babies being massacred in Israel. There are also 239 known hostages being held captive by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, one of whom is South African.

On October 14, President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa posted on Twitter, “We pledge solidarity with the people of Palestine #Free Palestine.” In a video below his post, he holds a small Palestinian flag and wears a keffiyeh draped around his neck, while addressing a crowd of people, many of whom also had Palestinian flags. He said that Palestinians’ rights had been violated through “occupation of their land,” and that “bringing in settlers” is “something that is causing a great deal of concern and possibly sparked off this conflict that is unfolding.” He accused Israel of “almost genocide” and apartheid. Towards his closing remarks, Ramaphosa states, “We always participated in the ending of conflicts with integrity, with neutrality.”

The South African conservative party, Freedom Front Plus, states on their website, “By criticizing Israel’s military action against Hamas, the government of South Africa has unequivocally expressed its support for the attack on Israel and the murder of innocent civilians, including babies.”

Israeli and South African flags were displayed on either side of Rabbi Goldstein while he spoke about the importance of being a proud Zionist, because Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, “represents all that is good about humanity.” He encouraged people to share the truth about Israel with others because “anyone who sees the facts will be able to see the justice of the cause of the State of Israel.”

There is no room for moral equivalency, or for not speaking out when it comes to events this unimaginably horrific. “This is a battle between good and evil, between darkness and light,” Rabbi Goldstein said. “The forces of democracy, freedom and human dignity represented by the State of Israel must triumph, not only for the sake of Israel, but because of every human being on this planet, and every South African.”

On October 18, Rabbi Goldstein sent a letter to all of the rabbinical leaders in South Africa, noting that the Jewish community of South Africa will no longer pray for G-d’s blessings on the government, and explaining to them that the change was “due to the South African government’s ongoing support for Hamas.” He asked, “How can we pray for a government that supports an organization responsible for the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust – an organization whose official policy is to murder Jews and which poses an ongoing threat to the safety of the Jewish people and the State of Israel?”

Rabbi Goldstein also sent a letter to the Jewish community, detailing how he changed the prayer that was originally composed by Chief Rabbi Harris, zt”l, and recited on every Shabbat since 1994. He explains, “Such a change is reserved for extreme situations, for government violations of morality so grotesque they undermine the integrity of our prayers.” Rabbi Goldstein noted that South Africa has not seen the spike in antisemitism that are being seen all over the world, which is a testament to how different the citizens of South Africa are from their government.

The new official prayer for South Africa is as follows:

Our G-d and G-d of our fathers, we invoke in mercy Your blessing upon our country, the Republic of South Africa. 

L-rd, we beseech You, bestow Your guidance and protection upon all the people of this country. Put into our hearts a spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and fortitude, that together we may all uphold the peace of the country, advance the welfare of the nation, and deal in righteousness with all its inhabitants.

Inspire us, L-rd, to establish justice, and prosper the work of our hands to fulfill the vision of a land full of goodness and blessed with prosperity.

Implant in the hearts of all the people of this country a spirit of love and unity, that we may work in harmony and fellowship for the well-being of society, and that we may dwell together in tranquility and peace.

May this be Your will, and let us say amen.


Previous articleHealing Bread
Next articleIsraeli Artists Behind The Global Campaign For Hostage Posters