I wish to apologise to anyone who may have been offended by my address at Yom Rabin in Johannesburg, where I defended the rights of the progressive Zionist youth movement Netzer, which has effectively been banned from King David Schools.
It was not my intention in any way to disrespect the memory of Yitzhak Rabin z”l. I have sent a letter of apology to Avrom Krengel and the Zionist Federation.
My decision to raise this matter at the Yom Rabin commemoration came after six months of extreme frustration. In March this year, Netzer was effectively banned from participating in a Masa program at King David Schools to which they had been invited by the Israel Centre, along with all other youth movements.
The SA Union for Progressive Judaism felt this banning was an absolute disgrace. But we chose not to speak out in public, honouring a request from The Zionist Federation and the SA Jewish Board of Deputies to negotiate in private with Rabbi Craig Kacev and the Jewish Board of Education.
After six months of fruitless negotiations, I received a letter from Rabbi Kacev on the 3rd November (shortly before Yom Rabin), which upheld the ban on Netzer activities at King David schools.
I must say that until that point, I believed that sanity would prevail, and that in the light of South Africa’s constitution, the Board of Education would let ALL JEWS participate equally at the King David Schools. Netzer, which is Zionistic in its ideals and actions and fully accredited by the SAZF, presents an especially strong case for inclusiveness. Unfortunately this is not to be.
Yitzhak Rabin believed in the concept of pluralism. My plea for pluralism as central to a unified Jewish community, reflects that conviction. I was not permitted to complete my address. I appreciate that this might have been the inappropriate forum for this issue and once again I tender my apologies.
I am thankful to the SAZF and its chair Avrom Krengel for their continued support and anticipate continued close co operation within the Jewish community in South Africa.
South African Union for Progressive Judaism