Jewish cricketeer David Teeger was stripped on Friday of his title as South Africa’s captain at the Under-19 World Cup, with the reason cited being “concerns for his safety” following pro-Israel comments he made.
In a statement Cricket South Africa (CSA) said, “As is the case with all such events, CSA has been receiving regular security and risk updates regarding the World Cup. We have been advised that protests related to the war in Gaza can be anticipated at the venues for the tournament.”
“We have also been advised that they are likely to focus on the position of the SA Under-19 (SA U19) captain, David Teeger, and that there is a risk that they could result in conflict or even violence, including between rival groups of protestors,” the statement added.
It noted that “CSA has a primary duty to safeguard the interests and safety of all those involved in the World Cup and must accordingly respect the expert advice of those responsible for the safety of participants and spectators.”
“In all the circumstances, CSA has decided that David should be relieved of the captaincy for the tournament. This is in the best interests of all the players, the SA U19 team and David himself. David will remain an important and active member of the squad and we wish him and the team every success in the tournament. The newly appointed captain will be announced in due course,” concluded the statement.
Teeger, who was recognized with a “rising star” honor at a Jewish awards ceremony in October, dedicated the accolade to Israel.
“Yes, I’ve been [given] this award, and yes, I’m now the rising star, but the true rising stars are the young soldiers in Israel,” Teeger said at the time. “And I’d like to dedicate it to the State of Israel and every single soldier fighting so that we can live and thrive in the Diaspora.”
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) criticized Teeger’s removal as captain as "shameful".
"There is no basis for this decision, other than the fact that Teeger is Jewish," read a statement issued by SAJBD national chairperson Karen Milner.
"This is not the first time that Jews have been excluded from sporting bodies in our history. The SAJBD will do everything in its power to fight against this vicious prejudice."
News of Teeger’s removal as captain comes amid increased tensions between Israel and South Africa, which filed a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza.
The South African government announced in November 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.
Later, South Africa called in Israeli Ambassador Eliav Belotsercovsky for a formal reprimand, citing “public comments” he had made.
In late November, a majority of South African lawmakers voted in favor of a motion calling for the closure of the Israeli embassy and the cutting of diplomatic ties until Israel agrees to a ceasefire in Gaza.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)