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South African Government and the Jews: Prime Minister’s Message to Congress of South African Jewish

Reference to Dr. Weizmann’s coming visit to South Africa was made at the ninth Congress of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, which met here yesterday and to-day, by Dr. Haarburger, the President of the Bloemfontein Hebrew Community, who opened the Congress, recalling that it was in his capacity as Mayor of Bloemfontein that he had welcomed the first Congress of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies held in Bloemfontein in 1912, the year when the Board had come into existence. There were only four delegates to that first Congress attending the present Congress.

The Congress differed in one respect from all previous Congresses, in being the first since the establishment of the Board in 1912, at which most of the leading Jewish institutions and organisations in the South African Union were directly represented by their own delegates instead of largely by Jews who happened to be residents of the particular town in which the congress was being held.

The specific functions of the Board were to watch over and take action on all matters affecting the welfare of the Jews in the southern portion of the Continent of Africa, Mr. Haarburger said, so that no infraction of the rights, customs and privileges of the Jewish Community should ensue from legislative and other enactments. Since the Board had been inaugurated it had accomplished a great deal of valuable and useful work for the promotion of specifically Jewish aims and objects.

They had met under critical circumstances, he went on, and it was gratifying to see such a big representation of constituent bodies. The duties and onligations of the delegates were threefold: Their obligations to themselves as Jews, the duties which they had to discharge as South Africans, and duties which they had to discharge as citizens of the British Empire.