(JTA) — When 18-year old South African cricket player David Teeger was recognized with a “rising star” honor at a Jewish awards ceremony in October, he dedicated the accolade to Israel.
“Yes, I’ve been [given] this award, and yes, I’m now the rising star, but the true rising stars are the young soldiers in Israel,” Teeger said, according to the South African Jewish Report. “And I’d like to dedicate it to the state of Israel and every single soldier fighting so that we can live and thrive in the Diaspora.”
Teeger, who observes Shabbat and keeps kosher, is the captain of South Africa’s under-19 cricket team, which is set to compete in its age group’s World Cup next year. He also holds a high-ranking leadership position at his prestigious King Edward VII School in Johannesburg.
In response to his pro-Israel comments, the local Palestine Solidarity Alliance filed a complaint with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, which launched an investigation into Teeger. He was reportedly suspended from playing cricket while the investigation was ongoing.
Respected barrister Wim Trengove, appointed to lead the inquiry, ultimately cleared Teeger of wrongdoing earlier this month. He ruled that Teeger’s comments did not violate the South African constitution or the code of conduct of his cricket team, the Central Gauteng Lions, according to the South African Daily Maverick newspaper.
“The Constitutional Court has made the point that the right to freedom of expression does not protect hate speech, but emphasized that the expression of unpopular or even offensive beliefs does not constitute hate speech,” Trengove wrote in his findings.
In a similar episode earlier this year, the South African Rugby Union disinvited an Israeli team from an international competition after facing pressure from the South African BDS Coalition, an affiliate of the Palestinian BDS National Committee that promotes the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. In that case, rugby’s global governing body ruled that the move was not discriminatory.
Though Teeger was cleared by the investigation, Jewish leaders in South Africa are displeased.
“Cricket South Africa should be ashamed of itself to subject a young schoolboy to a Maoist inquisition to test his ideological purity,” South Africa’s chief rabbi, Warren Goldstein, said in a YouTube video, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
Goldstein also took aim at the Palestine Solidarity Alliance, which he accused of having ties to Hamas and Iran. He said their supporters “celebrated the killing of 1,200 Jews on Oct. 7 [and] began a hateful campaign against Cricket South Africa,” according to the Chronicle.
Goldstein also accused South African President Cyril Ramaphosa of fomenting antisemitism in the country, where the government recently voted to suspend its diplomatic ties with Israel. “Mr. President, you have set the tone for all of this because the South African government’s targeting of Israel is in effect antisemitic,” Goldstein said in the video.
Pro-Palestinian sentiment is widespread in South Africa, where Apartheid rule discriminated against non-whites for much of the second half of the 20th century. Many contemporary pro-Palestinian activists claim that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is analogous to Apartheid South Africa.
Over 50,000 Jews live in South Africa today.
Mandy Yachad, a Jewish former cricket star who represented South Africa in international competitions, told the Chronicle he would boycott upcoming cricket events over what he called the “racist” treatment of Teeger.
“Not only will I not accept invitations to the pavilion as a former national player, but I will refuse to enter any of the grounds where the matches are being played,” Yachad said. “I love watching our teams, especially at the Wanderers and at Newlands, but not after what’s just happened.”
Obituary: Stanley Plotnick, 82, an e-commerce pioneer in Montreal—and a major philanthropist for Canadian and Israel-based projects
Stanley Plotnick, who played multiple leading roles for decades in the Montreal and Canadian Jewish community and was a major philanthropist for Israel-based projects, died on Feb. 19 at age 82. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Plotnick was a pioneering entrepreneur in the field of information technology, specifically e-commerce, and founded […]
Israel Denies UN Report Claiming Israeli Forces Assaulted Palestinian Women
Israel has denied allegations made by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) charging Israeli forces with rape, abduction and extrajudicial killings of Palestinian women in Gaza, labeling them “despicable and unfounded.”
The UN experts’ statement released on Monday said there were “credible allegations of egregious human rights violations” by the Israel Defense Forces against Palestinian women and girls.
“Many [Palestinian women and girls] have reportedly been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, denied menstruation pads, food and medicine, and severely beaten,” the statement from the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner said. “On at least one occasion, Palestinian women detained in Gaza were allegedly kept in a cage in the rain and cold, without food.”
“At least two female Palestinian detainees were reportedly raped while others were reportedly threatened with rape and sexual violence,” the statement added.
The report did not mention how it carried out its investigation and neither did it provide any evidence of its allegations.
The Israeli government’s response was swift and stern.
“Israel forcefully rejects the despicable and unfounded claims published today by a group of so-called UN experts, including one who just days ago legitimised the massacre of October 7 in which more than 1,200 people were murdered, executed and raped, and another who publicly doubted the testimonies of Israeli victims of gender-based and sexual violence,” Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva said in a statement.
The experts cited in the UN report include Francesca Albanese, the UN monitor who came under fire for justifying the Hamas-led attack on October 7 because it was “in response to Israel’s oppression.” Albanese also denied that rapes and beheadings against Israelis ever took place. Another of the experts listed, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls Reem Alsalem, likewise denied sexual violence against Israeli women, calling it “disinformation.”
“These [UN] mandate holders have remained silent on the horrific sexual violence and gender-based violence perpetrated by Hamas on and since October 7. It is clear that the co-signatories are motivated not by the truth but by their hatred for Israel and its people,” the Israeli statement said.
Israeli MK Danny Danon (Likud), who served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN, said that the statement was “nothing more than an endorsement of terror and genocide.”
“Where were these purported ‘experts’ when instances of violence occurred, such as when Hamas committed heinous acts against women, children, and families, raping, torturing and burning people alive?” Danon told The Algemeiner.
“Where are these ‘experts’ today to speak out for the innocent women and children and the remaining hostages, brutally kidnapped by Hamas and still held by the terror group with zero access to any form of humanitarian aid?”
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, lawyer and chairwoman of legal aid group Shurat HaDin who has in the past represented the families of Israeli terror victims in cases against Hamas, said Monday’s report came as “no surprise” given the UN’s anti-Israel bias.
“Hamas is losing the war, so its supporters rush to help it in its last dying moments. The sole weapon of Israel’s enemies is illusory slander plots against Israel,” Darshan-Leitner told The Algemeiner.
Darshan-Leitner went on to note that the accusations against the IDF were the same atrocities perpetrated against Israeli women on October 7.
“Since they want to keep symmetry between Israel and Hamas, they pretend everything that Hamas has done against Israel on a monstrous scale Israel has done also on a lower scale. But lies have to be proven,” she said. “Israel does not rape, Israel does not kidnap babies, Israel does not separate children from parents. Only the Hamas monsters do that as their go-pro cameras have proven.”
The UN statement also claimed that an “unknown number” of Palestinian women and girls had “reportedly gone missing after contact with the Israeli army in Gaza” and went on to say that there were reports of at least one female infant was “forcibly transferred by the Israeli army into Israel.”
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Saudi Report Says Hamas Chief Sinwar Escaped to Egypt with Hostages, Israel Denies
Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, may have escaped with hostages to Egypt via tunnels in Rafah, the Saudi-based Elaph news site reported on Tuesday citing an Israeli security source.
Israeli officials later denied the claim saying there was no intelligence to support it.
According to the Arabic-language report, Sinwar fled to Egypt through the vast network of tunnels in Rafah along with his brother Mohammad Sinwar and other key Hamas operatives.
The IDF said later on Tuesday that it had no reason to believe that Sinwar was not still in Gaza.
Elaph, based in London, has in the past broken stories involving Israel and citing Israeli sources, including a December report about secret negotiations taking place in Europe between Qatar and Israeli officials for the release of the hostages still being held in Gaza.
Last week, the IDF shared footage showing Sinwar in a tunnel in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, accompanied by his wife, children and his brother Ibrahim Sinwar. The footage was captured days after the October 7 attack by his terror group and corroborated IDF claims that Sinwar had fled Hamas’s headquarters in northern Gaza and moved to the tunnels beneath Khan Younis, exploiting a humanitarian corridor that the IDF had opened to ensure the safe passage of civilians from Gaza City.
“The hunt for Sinwar will not stop until we catch him, dead or alive,” IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said at the time.
Israeli media has reported that Sinwar has been incommunicado with Hamas for several weeks as he attempts to elude Israeli forces.
The army has refrained from entering Rafah, the remaining Hamas stronghold, amid strong pressure from the US and UN. But fighting continued in Khan Younis on Tuesday, with IDF operations at the Nasser Hospital. Over 200 individuals at the hospital were detained under suspicion of terrorist activities, with many reportedly linked to the hostages held by Hamas, the IDF said.
The post Saudi Report Says Hamas Chief Sinwar Escaped to Egypt with Hostages, Israel Denies first appeared on Algemeiner.com.