Jewish Worshippers in Johannesburg Threatened While Walking Home From Synagogue

A vehicle with four occupants drove past six Jews, with the driver making offensive hand gestures and shouting profanities before threatening to knock the men over.

JTA
JTA
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An intersection in Johannesburg's main Jewish enclave of Glenhazel, with a kosher bed and breakfast in the background.
An intersection in Johannesburg's main Jewish enclave of Glenhazel, with a kosher bed and breakfast in the background.Credit: Judd Yadid
JTA
JTA

Six identifiably Jewish males were threatened in a suburb of Johannesburg while walking home from synagogue.

The men were walking home from the Ohr Somayach Jewish center in Glenhazel last week when a vehicle with four occupants drove past them, with the driver making offensive hand gestures and shouting “F***ing Jews.”

A few minutes later, the vehicle returned and swerved lanes, threatening to knock the Jewish men over.

The incident was initially reported on Feb. 10 on the website of the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism, or CFCA. It was later confirmed to JTA by David Saks, associate director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, the community’s umbrella body.

“Anti-Semitic verbal abuse in South Africa commonly takes the form of people shouting obscenities from passing vehicles at community members walking to or from shul,” he said, noting that there were on average ten such incidents per year. “It is unusual, however, for the perpetrators to combine verbal abuse with acts of intimidation against the people they are targeting, in this case by making as if to drive into them. Unfortunately, it was not possible in this case to obtain the car registration details,” Saks told JTA.

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