Multi-faith clergy unite, advocate for closure of Israeli Embassy

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Clergy from different faiths were united in their call for the closure of the Israeli embassy in South Africa.  Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders have called for freedom in Palestine and for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to face the International Criminal Court.

They gathered at St. George’s Cathedral for the memorial service of the slain Gift of the Givers regional head, Ahmed Abbasi, in Gaza.  Gift of the Givers founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, via a recorded message, has thanked the congregation for honouring a man they did not know.

The St George’s Cathedral is well known for always providing a platform for all religions. For years, leaders from different faiths have used this podium to spread a message of tolerance and unity.

“This evening is a highlight for 2023 when people from different faiths could come together to honour a great man. The world needs to take action. We thank South Africa, a small country, that is brave enough and bold enough to stand against everyone else,” says Sooliman.

The common theme in all the contributions was a call for an end to the killings in Israel’s onslaught on the Palestine conflict. A representative for Jews for Palestine has honoured Ahmed Abbasi for the sacrifice he made.

“The bombs that killed them were not dropped in our name. We will continue to speak up. South African Jews for a free Palestine,” says Megan Choritz.

Gift of the Givers’ Dr Malik Abou-Rageila explains the circumstances surrounding  Abbasi’s death:

Speakers from Churches and Mosques in the City also join this call.

Anti-apartheid stalwart and cleric, Dr Alan Boesak, speaks about the sacred bond South Africa has with the people of Palestine.

“People of Cape Town in this church today, we are gathered here because we have a promise to keep, to the people of Gaza and Palestine, you will never be alone.”

He also calls for the immediate shutdown of the Israeli embassy in South Africa. The service was initiated by the Dean of the St. George’s Cathedral, Michael Weeder.

“The death of Ahmed Abbasi has brought the atrocities of the war closer to home,” he says.

Former Minister Lindiwe Sisulu also attended the service. She says she is in support of the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador from the country.

Gift of the Givers has called on countries around Palestine to open their borders to allow medical supplies to be transported where it is needed. The organisation says once the corridor is open, it will send a minimum of 100 doctors from various disciplines to the region.