By Rolene Marks
EFF Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) Aishah Cassiem called for United Herzlia Schools to be “deregistered, based on the school being pro-Israel” during a debate in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament on 15 June.
‘’The issue was not about the Jewish community or Cape Town-based parents sending their children to a Jewish school to uphold their religious beliefs. The real issue, was how Herzlia High School “enforces Zionism on Jewish students and encourages the students to participate in Apartheid activities and inhumane practices and encourages them to join [the] Israel Defense Forces after completing grade 12,” said Cassiem, wearing the signature red overalls of the EFF and a Palestinian keffiyeh.
This followed a call by ruling African National Council (ANC) provincial education spokesperson Muhammad Khalid Sayed for Education Member of the Executive Council David Maynier, in the Western Cape Legislature, to intervene in Herzlia High School’s Zionist education.
Herzlia High School director of education Geoff Cohen and the school’s executive director, Andries van Renseen, disclosed in an interview on Israeli TV that approximately 22% of their students go to Israel after they finish school and had joined the Israeli army.
Maynier responded by saying the question had been asked to deflect attention from the government’s entanglements with Russia. South Africa has been criticized internationally for seemingly siding with Russia in relation to its war with Ukraine. ‘’t was obvious, that there was an attempt to use a school to draw attention away from the international relations shambles of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” said Maynier.
Al Jama-ah publicly called on the SAPS to execute the arrest of the “two bodies” (SAJBD and SAZF) which he said were “advocating for racism and apartheid Israel” although no arrest warrant has been issued.
“The South African government—and all opposition parties—should focus their attention not on foreign conflicts but on the issues affecting South Africans, specifically those relating to our youth. These include our expansive school drop-out rates, pit latrines, lack of food, water and electricity in our government schools, against an inexplicably high youth unemployment rate,” said the National Chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, Rowan Polovin
Relations between Jerusalem and Pretoria have soured in recent years; South Africa’s foreign policy, although supportive of a two-state solution, favors the Palestinians. The EFF’s targeting of Herzlia High School is the latest move in a campaign aimed at the Cape Town Jewish community.
Edited by Eunice Anyango Oyule and Judy J. Rotich