PRETORIA– The South African Friends of Israel together with two political parties, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and the Congress of People (COPE), have called on the South African government to reinstate the country’s ambassador to Israel.

Thy made the call as hundreds of Christians and Jews marched to the Union Building in Pretoria to raise concerns over what they described as increasing anti-Israel rhetoric from the government.

South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israeli following the killing of Palestinian protestors at the Gaza border in May as they protested the move by the United States to move its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Since Parliament took a decision that we should have an embassy there, we are now robbed of access to the leadership of Israel to impact and influence them.” said COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota.

“Nobody authorised the government to do that. What they’ve done, it’s wrong. They should have asked parliament.”

We as a Christians community see Israel still remains a biblical homeland for our faith and therefore we cannot detach ourselves from Israel because of politics in our country, said South African Friends of Israel leader Bafana Modise.

Meanwhile, one of the country’s leading opposition parties, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had urged the government to shut down the Israeli Embassy in South Africa.

The Lord says in Genesis three, ‘I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, if the EFF curses Israel, watch what’s going to happen in next years’ elections. If ANC curses Israel, watch what’s going to happen to them next year during the elections, said ACDP president Rev Kenneth Meshoe.

The government said recalling the South African ambassador to Israel was only a temporary measure depending on the progress towards peace.