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South Africa Cancels Hanukkah Celebrations, Welcomes Hamas Visit

South Africa has seen public Hanukkah celebrations canceled as the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has entertained leaders of the Hamas terrorist organization on a solidarity visit to the country.


The visiting Hamas delegation included Basem Naim, Hamas’s representative in Iran.


The South African Jewish Report noted on Thursday:

South African Jewry is outraged by the visit to the country of a senior Hamas delegation to participate in the Fifth Global Convention of Solidarity with Palestine. This comes just weeks after Israel suffered on 7 October the gravest act of mass murder, including inhumane torture of Jews, since the Holocaust at the hands of this internationally designated terrorist organisation. Still reeling in the aftermath of the brutal pre-dawn unprovoked attack in which 1 200 civilians were slaughtered, raped, maimed, and burned, and 240 people including babies, children, women, and the elderly were taken hostage into Gaza, the community has been angered by pictures on social media of Hamas delegates being warmly welcomed and embraced by representatives of political parties including the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the Anglican Church, civil society groups, and the Palestine solidarity movement. … The Hamas delegation also met with high-level members of the ANC including Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula, Nomvula Mokonyane, as well as members of the Communist Party at Luthuli House. At a press conference held on Wednesday, 6 December, Mbalula further pledged the ANC’s support and solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Meanwhile, local malls canceled traditional Hanukkah menorah-lighting ceremonies:

For many, it’s a Chanukah family tradition to attend the menorah lighting ceremonies at Sandton City and Norwood Mall. Unfortunately, both centres have cancelled these ceremonies this year. … Both Sandton and Norwood malls reportedly “politely declined” requests to host the ceremonies this year, in spite of their co-operation in previous years. Following numerous attempts by the SA Jewish Report to contact them for an explanation, neither commented. … The annual Sandton City ceremony has been going for 25 years, the past 10 of which have been consecutive. At Norwood Mall, it has been running since 2012. Neither have been cancelled in recent memory, although Kievman said that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, “we faced some challenges with getting the permits for the menorah, but we did get it, and it was a great event”.

The menorah lightings were moved elsewhere, to locations within the Jewish community.


South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, backed Hamas from the early days of the war, chanting “Free Palestine” long before Israel had mounted a serious military response to the events of October 7.


Former ANC minister Ronnie Kasrils actively celebrated the attacks, telling an audience that he was “so pleased” by the murders, kidnappings and atrocities against innocent civilians in Israel.

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