JOHANNESBURG (Aug. 14)
Ambassador Eliahu Lankin of Israel denounced the bomb attack against Temple Israel here on August 6 as a cowardly attack on a place of Jewish worship and directed at the Jews as a people.
He told the close to 600 people who gathered at the synagogue last Friday night “There are neo-Nazis all over the world, perpetuating the Nazi ideology of anti-Semitism, but the Jews are no longer defenseless. We stand fearless and the Jewish spirit will never be broken.”
Temple Israel was damaged by an explosion just hours before President Marais Viljoen and other dignitaries, including the city’s Jewish Mayor, Allan Gadd, and Lankin were scheduled to attend ceremonies to mark the 50th anniversary of Reform Judaism in South Africa. Police investigators said that two limpet bombs were used in the attack. No one has claimed responsibility. It was the first such attack on a synagogue in the history of South Africa.
The meeting Friday night was called by the Board of Deputies of South African Jews and the South African Zionist Federation as a show of solidarity and strength against terrorist attacks. “Under no circumstances will the community be intimidated and scared into submission,” said one of the organizers.
AN ATTACK ON ALL JEWS
Rabbi Gunther Plaut, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and Dr. I Abramowitz, president of the Board of Deputies, joined Lankin in his condemnation of the bombing. “The world must know it was an attack on all the Jews — their values and spirit,” Plaut said.
He warned that anti-Semitism is a cancer in society and that it would grow if it was not checked. “The unknown perpetrators of this attack on all the Jews can break windows, and maim and injure, but they can never maim the eternal spirit of the people of Israel,” Plaut declared.
Itz Kalmanowitz, chairman of the Zionist Federation, said the greatest tragedy was that “such outrages were applauded in some parts of the world and by some people in South Africa. The Jewish people will not be intimidated nor placed under pressure. We chose to meet tonight symbolically where our enemies chose to do their dirty work a few days ago.”
Julius Weinstein, president of the Zionist Federation, said the bomb attack served only to unite the Jewish community further. “We are one people and we stand together determined in our resolve,” he said. “We will not be intimidated by any acts of violence.”
Telegrams from all over the world were sent by Jews and non-Jews condemning the attack and expressing sympathy with the Jewish community.