Menu JTA Search

S. African Rabbis Give Guarded Backing to Student Demonstrators

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Two South African rabbis have made guarded expressions of sympathy for university students–Jews among them–who recently clashed with police on campuses here and in Cape Town. Chief Rabbi Bernard Casper of Johannesburg said he hoped the Jewish students involved might show an equal interest in and understanding of Judaism and the fortunes of the Jewish people. Failure to do so indicated a confusion of priorities, he said.

But he also observed that much wisdom and patience was needed in dealing with the student outbursts which, for all their inconvenience and harassment, stem basically from idealistic motivations.

Rabbi A. H. Lapin, Chief Minister of the Cape Town Hebrew Congregation observed in a statement to the press that peaceful protest was part of the citizen’s right to disagree. He said those who protested were obliged to remain within the law but at the same time were entitled to protection from violence. “The exercise of restraint by authority is as necessary for its successful function as obedience to it,” Rabbi Lapin declared.

NEXT STORY