South African Ambassador 'Hiding' from Foreign Ministry

Foreign Ministry seeks to summon ambassador for censure over decision to label Yesha products but says he disconnected his phone.

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Gil Ronen,

Foreign Minister Lieberman (file)
Foreign Minister Lieberman (file)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said Monday that efforts will continue to summon South Africa's ambassador for censure over his country's announcement on Saturday that products made in Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron) will be marked as being from "Occupied Palestinian Territory". The South African ambassador disconnected his telephone on Sunday, however, apparently to avoid the summons, sources in the Foreign Ministry said.

Arutz Sheva's attempts to reach the South African embassy for a reaction were not successful.

Rabbi Natan Alexander, a Bnei Akiva emissary in Johanesburg, told Arutz Sheva on Sunday that he was not surprised by the South African announcement regarding labeling of products. He said that while there is no hostility toward Israel on the streets of South Africa's cities, activities such as Israel Apartheid Week by pro-Palestinian Authority activists on university campuses makes Jewish students uncomfortable.

South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry under Minister Rob Davies announced on Saturday that products produced by Israeli companies in Judea and Samaria cannot be labeled as products of Israel. 

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor announced on Saturday evening Israel’s intention to summon the South African ambassador, Ismail Coovadia, adding that Israel will act in the coming days to have the labeling announcement cancelled.

“This is singling Israel out on a clearly political basis,” said Palmor. “This decision has racist characteristics."