Pretoria‎, South Africa
Pretoria‎, South AfricaiStock

South Africa will call in Israel's ambassador for a formal reprimand, a senior foreign policy official said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

South Africa criticized Israeli ambassador Eliav Belotsercovsky on Monday over public comments he made, but did not specify what they were about.

"The demarche will be asked for hopefully by today. Not sure when he will come in," Zane Dangor, the director-general of South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation, told Reuters in a text message.

Dangor gave no further details and did not specify the reason for the reprimand.

Earlier this week, the South African government announced it was recalling its ambassador and entire diplomatic mission from Israel in protest against Israel's attempts to defend itself from the Hamas terrorist organization following the October 7 massacre.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lior Haiat said in response to the South African move, "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs fully supports the Israeli Ambassador in South Africa, who represents the position of the Israeli government and the people of Israel while Israel is fighting a murderous terrorist organization that calls for its destruction."

Anti-Israel sentiments remain prevalent in South Africa, where the government has frequently accused Israel of applying a policy of “apartheid” towards Palestinian Arabs.

This past summer, a South African lawmaker called for a Cape Town-based Jewish day school to be “deregistered” due to the fact that many of the school’s graduates go to Israel and enlist in the IDF.

Earlier this year, South Africa Rugby withdrew an invitation to Israeli club Tel Aviv Heat to compete in a second-tier competition.

Last year, South Africa's former chief justice was ordered to apologize for comments he made two years earlier pledging support for Israel.

In 2019, the country announced plans to downgrade its embassy in Tel Aviv.