South African Jewish women march against abuse of Gaza hostagesFri, 08 Mar 2024 13:24:24 GMT

A group of South African Jewish women held an International Women’s Day march on Friday to denounce their government’s silence regarding abuse by Hamas fighters against Israeli hostages.Organised by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), the women marched in the scorching Johannesburg sun under the banner “Me Too unless you are a Jew”.”Jewish women are put to an extra burden of proof all over the world,” one of the organisers, Gabriella Farber Cohen, said.”This one is not like any other women’s day, we are deeply saddened by the horrors and atrocities that were committed by the Hamas terrorists,” she said, accusing President Cyril Ramaphosa of hypocrisy.A mix of young and old, including high school students, chanted “bring back our girls” as they waved placards with the faces of the females held captive. “Ramaphosa constantly talks about gender-based violence… the hypocrisy is that he in 154 days has not mentioned one word, not even condemned the sexual violence that these Israeli women had to endure,” Farber Cohen said.In December, Pretoria made a complaint against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, alleging that its assault on Gaza amounts to a breach of the Genocide Convention.- Israeli hostages -Last month, the country further urged the UN’s top court to place more legal pressure on Israel, but has not spoken out on Israeli hostages held in Gaza.A UN report issued Monday said there were “reasonable grounds to believe” rapes were committed in Hamas’s attack, and that hostages subsequently taken to Gaza have also been raped. Mariam Gavran, part of the Survivors of Sexual Violence Advocacy Group, flew in from Israel and told the crowd of her experience on October 7, saying she felt “helpless”.”I cannot believe that the international community has been silent about it, saying it has not happened,” she said. The Hamas attack on southern Israel resulted in about 1,160 deaths, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.Israel’s retaliatory offensive in Gaza has killed 30,878 people, mostly women and children, according to the latest toll from Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.Around 250 hostages were taken by militants, 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including 31 presumed dead, according to Israel.”Those girls don’t have a voice” Mandy Perez, 33, told AFP. “I’m a mother of three girls and I cannot imagine my girls missing for even one day.”