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April 19, 2016 6:30 pm

South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Uses Passover Message to Call for Resignation of Country’s President ‘Accused of Selling Government to Highest Bidder’

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South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein. Photo: Office of Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein.

South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein. Photo: Office of Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein.

South Africa needs saving from its own president and it will take a leader the likes of Moses to bring about this miracle, South Africa’s chief rabbi wrote in an op-ed published by local media outlets on Tuesday.

Writing on the current scandal surrounding President Jacob Zuma — who is accused of violating the country’s constitution by giving private business interests control and influence over high-level government appointments — Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein stated, “Moses, the great leader of that time [Passover], did something that may have seemed insignificant, but has within it profound life lessons for South Africa today.”

Goldstein, who has a doctorate in human rights law, wrote that at the time of the exodus from Egypt, “While people were attending to their material concern, Moses was concerned with his responsibility of leading the people. The Talmud says that leadership is ‘not power and glory but service.’ Moses exemplified this teaching. He took nothing for himself.”

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Zuma, according to Goldstein, “stands accused of selling the South African government to the highest bidder.” Zuma’s own deputy finance minister, Mcebisi Jonas, has charged the president with “treasonous behavior — surrendering the sovereignty of the democratically elected government to unelected private interests.” The implications, Goldstein adds, are “devastating.”

“It is not about using public money for building an extravagant house and using power to enrich yourself and your family. It’s not about putting the interests of a political party ahead of the people. This is one of the lessons of the holy days of Passover,” the chief rabbi wrote.

Goldstein issued a call to Zuma to resign, and said other South African religious officials have a “moral obligation before God” to force the president out of office. “I said they would have to one day answer before God for their actions, or lack thereof,” he wrote.

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