Jewish Cemetery Vandalized in South Africa in Third Incident in a Week

Head of the Cape Jewish Board of Deputies told local newspaper that the vandalism is not believed to have been an anti-Semitic act

Illustration: A Jewish cemetery in Potchefstroom, South Africa.
Judy Maltz

Four headstones were knocked over and smashed at a Jewish cemetery in suburban Cape Town.

It was the third incident of vandalized Jewish gravestones in South Africa in the last week, The Times South Africa reported.

In the latest episode, the vandalized headstones were discovered in Strand over the weekend.

Stuart Diamond, head of the Cape Jewish Board of Deputies, told the newspaper that the vandalism is not believed to have been an anti-Semitic act.

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“I am concerned about antisocial behavior becoming pervasive in our cemeteries, which we want to keep sacred. But I do not believe that this was a deliberately anti-Semitic act,” he said.

A police report was filed in the latest incident.

Israel Hayom reported Sunday that police fear the recent violence at the Jewish cemeteries is “the work of an active neo-Nazi cell.”

“These incidents, unfortunately, spread like wildfire and have become a global trend, and these are very serious incidents that must be stopped immediately before they kill Jews,” the deputy chairman of the World Zionist Organization, Yaakov Hagoel, said in a statement, Israel Hayom reported.

“The South African police must stop these attackers, and it is the South African government’s responsibility to act accordingly against such incidents. If this is indeed the actions of a neo-Nazi cell, we must put an end to it, the sooner the better”

In December, 39 gravestones were vandalized in the Jewish cemetery in Wellington, near Cape Town, in an anti-Semitic attack.