South African Jewish community: dual citizenship ban intends to target IDF

The South African flag. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) political party is considering a change in the country’s policy on dual citizenship. The South African Jewish community believes the initiative is an effort to prevent Jewish citizens from serving in the Israel Defense Forces. 

The ANC is set to discuss the measure at a general council meeting next month, according to Obed Bapela, head of the ANC’s national executive committee’s subcommittee on international relations, the Sunday Times reported. 

The measure will not only affect many in South Africa’s Jewish community who hold dual citizenship, but also millions of other South Africans.

“Obed Bapela has undermined the very core value of South Africa’s democracy by proposing a change to our law purely to prevent one sector of our society, in this case South African Jews, from having a relationship with Israel,” South African Jewish Board of Deputies and South African Zionist Federation spokeswoman Charisse Zeifert said. 

Zeifert noted that Jews comprise only 0.1 percent of South Africa’s population, and accused Bapela of political grandstanding that is motivated “by his own narrow understanding of the Middle East conflict, which is based on religious fundamentalism and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) lobby within the ANC.”

The Jewish community has sought a meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma to clarify the measure. 

Posted on September 8, 2015 .