Sunday, June 15, 2014

Israel's Relations with South Africa - A New Online Publication of the Israel State Archives

As Archivista noted here two weeks ago, we recently published a collection of documents on the relations between Israel and South Africa. They reveal how Israel's opposition to apartheid dominated the bilateral relations, which became increasingly tense and problematic.

Most of the documents published are in Hebrew, quite naturally. It's interesting to note that in the early years of Israel's diplomatic service, Israeli diplomats corresponded in English, out of habit (correspondence with British officials in British mandated Palestine) or due to their origin (as English speaking officials--the most renown of them was of course Abba Eban, but there were quite a few other high ranking officials such as Michael Comay, who came from South Africa, the British Abe Harman and others).
Here's a translation of one of the documents we published regarding South Africa. It was sent to the Legation in Pretoria by the Director General of Israel's Foreign Ministry, Dr. Chaim Yahil.

31 December 1963
To: Chargé d'Affaires in Pretoria
Consul-General in Johannesburg
From: Director General
Diplomatic asylum
A [Foreign]Ministry "standing order" dealing with giving diplomatic asylum in Israeli diplomatic missions is about to be circulated, in which it is stated that no diplomatic asylum should be given inside delegation grounds, without prior authorization of the Ministry [of Foreign Affairs].
The ministry's directorate has given thought to the special situation that may evolve in South Africa, due to the fact that certain Jews are anti-apartheid activists, and may be hunted down by the [South African] government, and would want to seek asylum with you.
Without fundamentally changing the said standing order, we came to a conclusion that in an extraordinary lifesaving situation [the expression used is "Pikuach Nefesh"] and without any  practical possibility to contact the Ministry beforehand, you are allowed to act as you see fit, in accordance with all the serious implications that may derive from your decision. Nevertheless, all possible efforts should be made in contacting the Ministry.
This order is for the Pretoria legation only, not the General Consulate in Johannesburg.

Yours truly,

Dr. Chaim Yahil [Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs]
Chaim Yahil (Wikipedia)


This letter is very important, since it shows the extent that Israel was willing to go in its opposition to South Africa: Granting diplomatic asylum for a political fugitive is a sure way to start a clash with the host government.

The Israel State Archives employs former diplomats from Israel's Foreign Ministry. When we showed them this document, we were told that it's quite extraordinary, since this kind authorization allowing a fugitive in an Israeli diplomatic mission is unheard of and they'd never heard of this kind of directive and authorization in their entire careers.

1 comment:

  1. Balance your spiritual energy and get in harmony with your soul by practicing these Radha-Krishna meditations.


    Sri Gita Govinda
    -A book written in the 12th century, this is a description of the intimate loving affairs of Radha and Krishna
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    Govinda Lilamrta
    -An 400 year old book which poetically describes the eternal daily pastimes of Radha and Krishna
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/uhcuigauc6uqiei/Govinda_Lilamrita.pdf

    Ananda Vrindavan Campu
    -This is probably the most poetic and intimate portrayal of Sri Krsna’s life in Vrndavana that has ever been written.
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/k9j3ldwbt17be3b/Ananda_Vmdavana_Campu.pdf

    Prayers of Service to Radha and Krishna (Sankalpa Kalpadruma)
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/lvkqsro3sbzm249/Visvanath_Cakravarti_Thakur_Sankalpa_Kalpadruma.pdf

    Prema Samputa The Treasure Chest of Love
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    The Meeting in the Box
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    The Meeting of Sri Krishna Disguised as a Female Doctor
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/hgomrnem7829pda/The_Meeting_of_Sri_Krsna_Disguised_as_a_Female_Doctor.pdf

    The Meeting of Sri Krishna Disguised as a Female Singer
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/gyuboduhn8dvdml/The_Meeting_of_Sri_Krsna_Disguised_as_a_Female_Singer.pdf

    The Meeting of Sri Krishna Disguised as Abhimanyu
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/911h9qoxn4ca027/The_Meeting_of_Sri_Krsna_Disguised_As_Abhimanyu.pdf


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    Here is a 41 page sample of Bhavanasara Sangraha:
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    Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with ISKCON in any way whatsoever. ISKCON, or "The Hare Krishna Movement" as it's popularily known, is a radical and extremist distortion of the original Radha and Krishna dharma from ancient India. The author of the above book Bhavanasara Sangraha is no longer affiliated with ISKCON either, having cut all ties to ISKCON a few years ago.

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