Israeli Delegation to Mandela Funeral Seated in Parliamentary Gallery
The Israeli Knesset delegation to the funeral of South African President Nelson Mandela was placed in a parliamentary gallery inside of Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium, far removed from where the sitting president of South Africa and such visiting world leaders as President Barack Obama were situated, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported.
The delegation, headed by the Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, landed Tuesday morning at the airport in Johannesburg and were immediately shuttled to the stadium in order to attend the funeral. The Speaker was invited to sit on the main stage, but elected to stay with the other members of the Israeli delegation, Ma’ariv reported.
“It’s very exciting to be here in South Africa. We arrived after a long but pleasant flight and are looking forward to a moving memorial service,” MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) told a Ma’ariv reporter.
MK Lipman, who heads the Israel- South Africa Friendship Association, added that, “…Nelson Mandela served as an inspiration around the world. [He] realized a vision of liberty and freedom and human rights which is a guiding light for everyone.”
Knesset Members Penina Tamanu-Shata (Yesh Atid), Hilik Bar (Labor), Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) and Gila Gamliel (Likud) comprised the remainder of the Israeli delegation.
Mandela died on Thursday at age 95, after leading the fight to end apartheid in South Africa and serving as the country’s president from 1994 to 1999.