Cape Town - The EFF in the province has called for Herzlia High, a Jewish community school in Cape Town, to be deregistered after it emerged that up to 22% of the school’s pupils go to Israel the year after school to join the army.
EFF MPL Aisha Cassiem made the call during a heated debate in the legislature caused by a question to Education MEC David Maynier from the ANC’s provincial education spokesperson, Khalid Sayed.
Sayed had asked if the MEC would intervene at the school, following the broadcast of an interview with an Israeli TV news channel in which Herzlia High director of education Geoff Cohen and the school’s executive director Andries van Renseen disclosed that a number of their students had joined the Israeli army.
Maynier said Sayed’s question was asked to deflect attention from the government’s entanglements with Russia.
“I think it’s obvious that it is clearly an attempt to use a school to pivot, to deflect and to draw attention away from the monumental international relations shambles of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.”
Maynier accused Sayed of being a “fan boy” of Russian President Vladimir Putin because he had recently posed for selfies with the Russian consul-general.
Cassiem said: “It is insulting for the DA provincial government to condemn the war in Ukraine but do nothing with regard to this school which is aligned to the apartheid state of Israel and encouraging learners to partake in apartheid.”
She said the MEC had the power to withdraw the registration of Herzlia as an independent school and wanted to know if he would do so.
ACDP MPL Ferlon Christians said it was shameful that there were any questions about the school considering its 100% pass rate and over 95% of its students obtaining university exemption.
Maynier said he would not de-register the school and said: “The real insult here is that a person who professes to care about human rights supports a country whose leader has been charged with the forced relocation of 16000 children.
Speaking after the debate, ChristianView Network spokesperson Philip Rosenthal condemned what he said was “an attack by Muslim ANC and EFF members of the Western Cape Legislature on Herzlia High School”
Rosenthal said: “The debate comes as the climax of a string of unwarranted Muslim anti-Israel verbal attacks harassing and threatening Cape Town Jewish institutions and leaders on the allegation of association with Israel.”