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Iconic South African Jewish journalist to get top honor

Benjamin Pogrund has responded to the false notion that the State of Israel practices apartheid as South Africa once did.

South African journalist Benjamin Pogrund, who now lives in Israel, being interviewed by i24News. Credit: Screenshot.
South African journalist Benjamin Pogrund, who now lives in Israel, being interviewed by i24News. Credit: Screenshot.

One of South Africa’s premiere journalists, Benjamin Pogrund, will receive a top honor for his decades-long work, which included exposing the country’s apartheid system that lasted between 1948 and 1994.

On April 25, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will hand Pogrund the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver, which is presented to those with exceptional accomplishments in the fields of journalism, literature, art and culture.

The former deputy editor of The Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg, Pogrund exposed South African apartheid and, as a result, was repeatedly prosecuted, jailed once, had his passport voided and overall was seen as an adversary to the country by security police.

Along those lines, Pogrund has responded to the false notion that the State of Israel practices apartheid as South Africa once did.

“The situation on the ground does not support accusations of apartheid,” he wrote in The Guardian in 2015. “The Arab population, some 20 percent, certainly suffers discrimination, but to liken their lot to apartheid South Africa is baseless, indeed ridiculous. Arabs have the vote, which in itself makes them fundamentally different from South Africa’s black population under apartheid.”

Pogrund moved to Israel in 1997, and later founded the Center for Social Concern at Jerusalem’s Yakar Center for Tradition and Creativity.

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