South Africa to return ambassador soon

South Africa’s ambassador to Israel is to return “within two to three weeks,” an official said.

The announcement came Wednesday in a statement released by the South African Union of Jewish Students, citing a spokesperson for South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Co-operation.

The ambassador was recalled in protest of the interception by Israel of a Gaza-bound flotilla, which resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish national passengers. Turkey was the only other country to have recalled its ambassador in response to the incident.

Tuesday, SAUJS presented a memorandum to government spokesperson Saul Molobi expressing its “utter dismay and outrage” at the government’s decision.

“Yesterday was a victory for Jews, South Africans and all those concerned with creating a human rights culture in South Africa,” the statement issued Wednesday read. “We will be keeping a vigilant eye on this claim and if necessary will be back to make our voice heard again.”

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies, the South African Zionist Federation and the Office of the Chief Rabbi issued a statement June 3 expressing their “profound disappointment” at the decision to recall the ambassador, calling it “premature and inappropriate.”

“As South African citizens we call upon our Government to adhere to an even-handed policy on the situation in the Middle East and to give due weight to Israel’s legitimate security concerns,” the statement read.