South African Jewish Leaders: Global Threat of Islamist Terror ‘Unfortunate Reality’ That Makes Securing Our Community a Top Priority
Following the arrest of twin brothers plotting to attack Jewish institutions and the US Embassy in Pretoria, South African Jewish leaders railed against the “global threat of Islamic terror” and described efforts to safeguard the lives of Jews in their community.
South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that “any Jewish institution is a potential target, just as Western installations are.”
Over the last several years, the South African Jewish community has “taken a number of steps to raise the security of its synagogues and schools,” he said, with partial funding from the South African government.
Global terrorism is an “unfortunate reality of the modern world in which we live,” Goldstein said. “Thank God nothing has happened, but the threat of something happening is a threat present in all of South Africa and around the world. Responsible efforts have to be made to counter the threat.”
Commending South African law enforcement agencies for their vigilance, Goldstein stated, “In a sense, there is nothing new to change as a result of the latest thwarted attack. We must continue to do what has been done over the past few years, working under the assumption that the threat is always there.”
Vice President of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) Zev Krengel echoed Goldstein’s assessments, telling The Algemeiner that the arrest of the South African “terror twins” highlights the fact that “global terrorism has no boundaries.”
Krengel said, “For some time now, our community leadership has been working on improving the security of the Jews and Jewish installations in South Africa. Security is an ongoing exercise and will continue to be prioritized in our community.”
Both Goldstein and Krengel agreed that Jews in South Africa do not live in fear.
“My impression is that the community overall feels safe,” said Goldstein. “There isn’t a siege mindset.”
According to Krengel, South Africa has some of the “lowest levels of antisemitism in the world, and the global threat of terrorism is one which the South African government takes very seriously.”
“Jewish communities around the world are targets of terror and South African Jewry is no different,” he said.
Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie, 23, were arrested on Saturday by the Hawks anti-terrorism unit, following a 10-month investigation. They appeared before the Johannesburg Central Magistrate’s Court on Monday, where they were charged with conspiracy to perform terrorist acts. The twins were among four terror suspects arrested by authorities with apparent ties to ISIS.