Sympathy of South African Government with Israel Assured by Cabinet Member

A member of the South African Government Cabinet told a preponderately Jewish audience here that South Africa sympathizes with Israel in her efforts to secure her borders and develop co-existence with her Arab neighbors. The occasion was a banquet at Zionist Hall, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Johannesburg Jewish Guild, attended by many community leaders, including non-Jews.

South African Minister of Transport Ben Schoeman, who was the principal speaker, said that “Israel has won the war and now has the problem of winning the peace.” He wished the Israel Government luck in the “formidable task” of securing her frontiers and obtaining peaceful co-existence with her Arab neighbors. Noting that the Government had been officially neutral during last June’s Arab-Israeli war, he continued:

“That did not mean that we did not sympathize with Israel. Because of that sympathy, we agreed that funds could be sent from South Africa to help alleviate Israel’s hardship. The Government took that decision in spite of the fact that Israel had voted with the enemies of South Africa at the United Nations. (Israel’s delegation at the U.N. has consistently voted in favor of condemning South Africa for its policy of apartheid.) Israel’s attitude was a disappointment to South Africa. After all, we have so much in common, my people and Israel. South Africa was one of the first states to recognize Israel.”

Mr. Schoeman paid tribute to the Jewish community in this country, asserting that the Jews of South Africa were considered thoroughly loyal to their Government. Similar sentiments were voiced by Sybrand von Niekerk, Administrator of Transvaal and Mayor C.J. Ross-Spencer. Other speakers included Dr. Teddy Schneider, president of the South African Board of Jewish Deputies; I.A. Maisels, president of the South African Zionist Federation; and B.L. Kellen, president of the Johannesburg Jewish Guild.

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