Nelson Mandela was an icon of resistance and one of the most influential figures in modern history, but what was his relationship with the Jewish community like?
Here at jewishnews.co.uk we’re running 50 facts about Nelson Mandela and the Jewish community that you may not know. 10 facts a day, all week long!
Click here for facts 21-30[divider]
31. In 1994, Mandela claimed in his autobiography that he believed Sidelsky offered him the job because Jews had “historically been victims of prejudice” and so empathised with his plight. [divider]
32. February 1995 – South African Foreign Minister, Alfred Nzo, announces full diplomatic relations with the “State of Palestine” prompting protest from Israeli officials. [divider]
33. October 1995 – Prior to November local elections, Mandela and Jewish ANC candidates appeal for Jews to refrain from emigrating because of fears of crime. [divider]
34. January 1996 – Mandela meets the leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, a man famous for making anti-Semitic comments in the USA. [divider]
35. February 1996 – Mandela meets with Chief Rabbi Yirael Meir Lau in Pretoria who shares with Mandela his experiences of being a prisoner in a concentration camp. [divider]
36. January 1997 – Mandela approves a $650 million sale of tank-firing systems to Syria despite petitions against it by South African Jews. [divider]
37. September 1997 – Ben Gurion University presents Mandela with an honourary degree presented to him in Cape Town because he had “indicated he will not visit the Middle East until he is able to make a meaningful contribution to the peace process”. [divider]
38. July 1998 – Mandela gets married over Shabbat so Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris and his wife were invited to Mandela’s home on the Friday afternoon to give their blessing. [divider]
39. August 1998 – Mandela and Arafat exchange medals and embrace in a public ceremony. [divider]
40. September 1998 – Mandela calls the Netanyahu administration “narrow and chauvinistic”, accusing it of blocking the peace process. [divider]
Be sure to check back tomorrow for more facts about Nelson Mandela and his relationship with the Jewish community!