An ICEJ South Africa-sponsored prayer event that took place at Sea Point Promenade in Cape Town was disrupted by hundreds of pro-Palestinian supporters on Sunday.
ICEJ-South Africa National Director Vivienne Myburgh said the “event was totally hijacked” after pro-Palestinian protesters showed up to confront the attendees at the prayer rally.
According to Myburgh, an elderly Messianic Jewish man had his finger broken when protesters tried to rip his flag at out his hand. Another attendee was stabbed in his arm with a knife.
Cape Town Police announced the arrest of four men on charges of public violence following the disruption at the prayer gathering on Sunday after protesters disobeyed orders to disperse.
Myburgh said the violence in “Cape Town, SA has crossed a line.”
“We always knew there were Islamic militants around but have never experienced real violence or anti-Semitic attacks,” she said.
Myburgh also said, “The Israeli-Gaza War has triggered unbridled hatred and violent threats and actions” against Jews and Israel supporters in South Africa. She said the African National Congress (ANC) government’s support of Hamas emboldens the anti-Israel crowds to behave violently.
“It was very shocking to see the level of threats and violence today,” she continued.
“The Jewish community is very rattled,” Myburgh stated. “I expect an increase in aliyah from South Africa,” she added, referring to the immigration of Jews to Israel.
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) Vice President David Parsons said: “Our ICEJ-South Africa branch was helping organize a pro-Israel rally at Sea Point park on Sunday afternoon, and were expecting about 3,000 Christians and some Jews to attend to stand and pray for Israel. But police called off the event due to the violent threats of an unapproved counter-protest."
Some news sites in South Africa insinuated that the prayer rally did not have approval, however, ICEJ clarified that their event had been given permission and that it was the counter-protest that had not received approval.
On Saturday, a pro-Palestinian crowd held a large rally in Cape Town, where there were calls to disturb the pro-Israel prayer rally the following day.
“They attacked several people, as well as the police. We had to send our buses back home,” Parsons explained.
Videos on social media showed pro-Palestinian rioters fighting police who were arresting several men for public violence.
Parsons also said: “Mandla Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela who has converted to Islam, was a big inciter of this disturbance.”
Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said the disruption of the prayer event should be condemned by all who value free expression in a democracy.
“In the same way the tens of thousands of residents gathered yesterday to protest peacefully, so the planned protest today should have been respected and allowed to proceed peacefully and without interference," Hill-Lewis stated.
"It is the job of the South African Police and law enforcement agencies to protect that right, and the responsibility of every citizen to respect it.”
On Tuesday, Cape Town police announced they were dropping charges against the four men arrested for disrupting the prayer event.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.