Menu JTA Search

Israeli Correspondent Expelled from South Africa

An Israeli newspaper correspondent has been ordered to leave South Africa within 48 hours, it was reported here Tuesday.

Dan Sagir who writes for Haaretz and also broadcasts on Galei Zahal, the Army radio station, said Tuesday he was told by the South African authorities that he must be out of the country by Thursday. He said he was the third correspondent to be expelled since the South African government declared a state of emergency on June 12.

The Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday that it has instructed the Israel Ambassador in Pretoria to inquire into expulsion of Sagir. Sagir said he was informed that his visa and work permit would not be renewed.

He said he thought he was targeted because of the warm relations between Israel and the Pretoria government which the latter does not want to strain. His coverage of events in South Africa was considered unwarrantedly critical by the authorities there.

CONCERN FOR S. AFRICAN JEWS

Meanwhile the situation of South Africa’s Jewish community has become the focus of top level discussions by Premier Shimon Peres and by the Jewish Agency Assembly currently holding its annual session in Jerusalem.

Peres called a meeting Monday of senior ministers and Jewish leaders to consider measures to increase aliya by South African Jews. Only 250 have come to Israel so for this year.

The Jewish Agency Assembly is also concerned about the Jewish community as the situation deteriorates in South Africa and by indications that while Jews are leaving that country in increasing numbers, they are not settling in Israel.

They choose instead to immigrate to the United States, Australia, New Zealand and even neighboring Zimbabwe. Haim Aharon, chairman of the Jewish Agency’s aliya department, told the Assembly that a special program has been undertaken to ease the absorption of South African olim by helping them find housing and business opportunities.

They require help, Aharon said, in light of the drastic depreciation of the South African Rand and South Africa’s strict currency regulations. According to Aharon, the condition of South African Jewry is “the most urgent problem of any Jewish community in the Western world.”

NEXT STORY