View from the chair

Karen Marsden Sank, Chairperson SAZF Cape Council

The mission of the SAZF is to protect and promote Israel in South Africa. We do this by educating the Jewish and broader South African community about Israel and establishing projects that promote Israel in South Africa. We focus on strengthening the bond between South African Jews and Israel and building ties with our South African Friends of Israel to continue to build and create relationships with the broader South African community.

As the newly appointed Chairperson of the SAZF Cape Council, I am committed and inspired to take on this critical role. Together with our newly appointed Executive Director Chaya Singer I believe together we can ensure a strong, dynamic and visionary team of both lay-leadership and a committed professional staff to take the SAZF to the next level – watch this space!

There is a focused commitment to bring added value and create new opportunities for our Zionist community and other communities who remain committed to building broader and deep relationships both within South Africa as well as with Israel and its partners.

2020 has been one of many struggles, hardship and fear as we have been forced to adapt to a new COVID-19 world. This pandemic has forced us to face a new normal which has brought so many painful losses for so many of us. We are so saddened at the amount of deaths and trauma experienced by so many in our community, and to those that have lost loved ones we acknowledge and send our deepest condolences for the lives lost to this pandemic. Three such people include Barney Singer, Milton Gerdis and Brian Josselowitz. Barney was the Chairman of the SAZF CC – formally Western Province Zionist Council – from 1980-1984. He later became the Vice President of the SA Zionist Federation. Milton was a member of the SAZF CC. Management Committee and served on various Committees and portfolios. Brian was a critical member of the SAZF CC Media Committee who wrote prolifically on behalf of Israel. We honour these men for their commitment and dedication and wish their families Long Life. Their memories will most definitely be a blessing. Baruch Dayan HaEmet.

In the short time since I was elected as Chair I have had the opportunity to meet and engage with key stakeholders, consultants, the Israeli trade officer Mr Amit Lev as well as the Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Lior Keinan. All these engagements and conversations have been encouraging, productive and indicate a positive continuation of the strengthening of these critical ties.

Today, Israel is a country of excellence, innovation, insight, diversity and in just the last few months has normalised relations with countries we never would have believed possible. As a truly exceptional winning nation and from my own personal perspective nothing makes me prouder!

Am Israel Chai

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Published in the print edition of the February 2021 issue. Download the February 2021 issue PDF here.

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