JOHANNESBURG (Aug. 22)
South Africa’s chief rabbi has strongly criticized local Jews who choose to emigrate, saying that they are abdicating their moral obligations to family members they leave behind and to the South African Jewish community at large.
Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris also criticized Jewish professionals who had left the country after being educated at a great cost to the government.
Directing some of his ire at recent emigres to Canada and Australia, Harris told a conference of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies here Sunday, “I would like to impose a tax on them which could go towards maintaining the South African community.”
He suggested an annual tax of $250 on each emigre family.
Harris also said South African Jews had a responsibility that went beyond the Jewish community.
“It is clearly a priority to look after our own Jewish community,” he said, but added that Jews also had a responsibility “as proud South Africans in a new democracy” to their country.
The chief rabbi also criticized Jews who were quick to look for signs of anti- Semitism in South Africa but who were biased toward other races.
The Jewish community in South Africa had “tunnel vision,” establishing its own upper-middle class to the exclusion of others, he said.