JOHANNESBURG (Feb. 20)
The recent statement by British Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits that he did not rule out the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, has had severe repercussions among South African Jewry. Jakobovits was sharply rebuked by South Africa’s Chief Rabbi, Bernard Casper, who, like his British colleague, is Orthodox.
“It is painful for me to take issue with my esteemed friend and colleague, Chief Rabbi Jakobovits, on a matter touching so closely the very existence and future of the Jewish people,” Casper said in a statement issued over the weekend. “This is not the only time we have differed in our approach to Israel affairs, but never before has Dr. Jakobovits gone so far as to proclaim support for the idea of a Palestine Arab state in Judaea and Samaria and Gaza. According to the report (of Jakobovits’ remarks) he would even allow such a state to have its capital in Jerusalem. As if this were not sufficient aid and comfort to Israel’s enemies, the Chief Rabbi adds, ‘If I knew we could never attain peace with the Arab world, I would say liquidate Israel’.”
According to Casper, “It is the timing of his pronouncement which makes it such a stab in the back to Israel as it faces the mounting challenges of a hostile or indifferent world. At a time like this, the people are entitled to look for a lead of faith and encouragement on the part of those in positions of religious authority, but faith is the very thing that the Chief Rabbi never seems to mention. The Arabs now know that all they have to do is to maintain hostilities and prevent peace and they can be sure of having at least on influential Jewish supporter for the possibility of ‘liquidating Israel’,” Casper said.