JOHANNESBURG (Sep. 17)
The Jewish community of South Africa had assurance today from the new Premier, Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd, that he would pursue the same sympathetic policy toward South African Jewry and Israel as did his predecessors, Dr. Daniel Malan and Johannes G. Strijdom.
The new Premier made his statement to the Johannesburg daily, Die Vaterland, which made the statement its main page one story under the headline, “The Premier on His Jewish Policy. ” The newspaper asked the Premier for the statement after publication of a report in an Israel daily alleging that South African Jews feared the new Premier would introduce an anti-Semitic policy and place restrictions on South African Jewry’s aid to Israel.
The report was denounced by Max Melamet, chairman of the Capetown section of the Board of Jewish Deputies, as “nonsense, ” when he was asked for comment by the Capetown Nationalist newspaper, Die Burger.
“This is the sort of unfounded and nonsensical comment overseas concerning which the Government is justified in complaining, ” the Jewish leader said. “Similar comment also was made about Malan and Strijdom, although the truth was that their attitude toward the Jewish community was friendly and highly appreciated by the Jewish community. We know of no reason for it to be different under Premier Verwoerd. “
Israel Dunsky, chairman of the Zionist Federation of South Africa, in a letter to the Premier, extended his “heartiest congratulations and best wishes” upon his accession as the sixth Premier to the Union. “May South Africa under your leadership continue to go from strength to strength and enjoy peace and prosperity, ” Mr. Dunsky wrote.