Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013

December 6, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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J-Wire has received tributes to the late Nelson Mandela including the Prime Minister and the Emeritus Chief Rabbi.

Emeritus Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Lord Sacks said:

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

“Today we mourn the loss of one of the world’s great leaders, the man who was our generation’s mentor in forgiveness and reconciliation. Nelson Mandela lived and breathed the politics of hope. It takes courage to hope, and even greater courage to lead a people on the long walk to freedom. Because of him not only South Africa but the world is a better place. The greatest tribute we can pay him is to be inspired by his memory and lifted by his ideals. Let now be a moment for a new birth of hope in some of the many conflict zones throughout the world. We offer our sincere condolences to his family. May they find comfort in the knowledge that his spirit will live on. He permanently enlarged the horizon of human hope.”

President of Israel Shimon Peres:

“The world lost a great leader who changed the course of history. On behalf of the citizens of Israel we mourn alongside the nations of the world and the people of South Africa, who lost an exceptional leader. Nelson Mandela was a fighter for human rights who left an indelible mark on the struggle against racism and discrimination. He was a passionate advocate for democracy, a respected mediator, a Nobel peace prize laureate and above all a builder of bridges of peace and dialogue who paid a heavy personal price for his struggle in the years he spent in prison and fighting for his people. Nelson Mandela’s legacy for his people and for the world will forever remain engraved in the pages of history and the hearts of all those who were touched by him. He will be remembered forever.”

Robert Goot, President of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry said:

The passing of Nelson Mandela, marks the end not only of a remarkable life, but also of an historic chapter of truly outstanding  courage, tenacity and leadership.

Nelson Mandela was incarcerated on Robben Island because of his steadfast opposition to apartheid and all that it stood for.  He emerged from 27 years in prison, with great moral authority to become South Africa’s first black President and the first South African President to be elected by universal adult franchise of all its people.

He was convinced of the need for reconciliation between races in his country and worked tirelessly to achieve that end. He is rightly regarded as a great healer.

Some of his attitudes towards Israel which I had the opportunity of raising with him during his visit to Sydney, were questionable, but he was a great friend of South African Jewry and his indomitable spirit of generosity and magnanimity extended to all of humankind.

We have been privileged to witness the extraordinary journey of a man whose place in history, as an outstanding and courageous leader, is justly secured.

The World Union for Progressive Judaism is deeply saddened by the death of Nelson Mandela, a highly regarded and much loved former president of the Republic of South Africa.

Nelson Mandela, having served 27 years in prison for his active opposition to apartheid, rose to become the first black president of South Africa at a time of much violence and division in his country. President  Mandela was able to unite disparate groups who had fought each other for decades. He was able to prevent the bloodshed that had been predicted once apartheid was dismantled. His government set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which has been an example to the world on dealing with painful and bitter divisions within society.

He has been one of the most  admired world leaders of our time and he has been an example to all who aspire to positions of leadership.

Nelson Mandela will be sadly missed; the two million members of the World Union for Progressive Judaism joins with our South African members to express our sorrow at his passing and sends sincere condolences to his family and to the people of South Africa.

Michael Grabiner, Chairman, WUPJ   Dr. Philip Bliss, WUPJ Advocacy Committee Chair


From Australian Prime Minister  Tony Abbott

The world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela will forever be remembered as more than a political leader, he was a moral leader.

He spent much of his life standing against the injustice of apartheid.

When that fight was won, he inspired us again by his capacity to forgive and reconcile his country.

While the world may never see another Nelson Mandela, he has inspired countless men and women throughout the world to live more courageous and honest lives.

On behalf of the Australian Government and the Australian community, I extend my condolences to Mr Mandela’s family and to the people of South Africa.


The Chair of the Community Relations Commission of New South Wales, Stepan Kerkyasharian, has added his voice to the flood of international praise for the life of Nelson Mandela.

“I remember nominating him in a newspaper survey in 1999 as the man of the century.

“His humanity stood in stark contrast to the decades of inhumanity witnessed around the globe in the 20th Century.

“Two world wars, nuclear weapons, the ideological wars, the emergence of terrorism, famine and genocide characterised the century.

“Nelson Mandela stood out as a beacon of hope for all peoples. He delivered for his own people of South Africa whilst inspiring everyone, everywhere.

“He taught us to rise above the personal to promote the harmonious co-existence of people of different races without a hint of bitterness of past personal suffering.

“Long may his influence last!”  Mr Kerkyasharian concluded.


The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) joins the rest of world in mourning the sad passing of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon.

Mandela, the country’s first black president, died peacefully at his Johannesburg home after a protracted lung infection.

One of the world’s most recognised figures, Mandela came from nothing to challenge and destroy the country’s apartheid regime – where a white minority ruled the black majority.

His legendary struggles lead to his own political imprisonment for nearly three decades. Eventually released, Mandela went on to become South Africa’s first black president until he retired in 1999.

NSWALC Chairman Craig Cromelin said it was a sad day for Aboriginal communities across the country, as Mandela is revered as an icon of resistance in Aboriginal Australia.

“Mandela was the first to advocate armed resistance in 1960, after the Sharpville massacres. He was a staunch fighter of discrimination,” Chairman Cromelin said.

“We’ve got our own history of deep racial injustices here in Australia, some that continue to this day. And it’s icons like Mandela that gives us all continuing hope that change isn’t just a dream.

“As president he faced the colossal task of re-building a deeply divided nation still suffering the wounds of the disgraceful apartheid regime.

“To his eternal credit, he achieved those goals and brought an entire nation with him towards reconciliation.

“So whilst there’ll never be another Nelson Mandela, he will forever be an inspiration to us all in the Aboriginal community.”

“Our sincere condolences go to Mr Mandela’s family and the people of his beloved South Africa.”

 Craig Cromeli NSWALC Chairperson



2 Responses to “Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:


    it is said: ” De mortuis nil nisi bene”, ” About the dead only good things”.
    Yet, a complete profile must be drawn. It is also said that someone else made the analogy of Israel and apartheid, not Mandela as such.
    The achievements of the ANC in Sth. Africa were extraordinary, yet some “incidents” in their struggle, in respect to the way they dealt within with conflicting strands, were less than laudable.
    Following the peaceful regime change, economic and social disarray settled. In some Govt. run places “modifications” of personnel were made based on considerations other than strictly proffessional.
    In 1995 I was in Capetown trying to stage a grand opera show. My contact was the Director of the local Conservatoire, a Sth. African Prof. of music of Italian origin. He informed me that he was to be replaced by a coloured who was an excellent …. accountant. In Pretoria the Assistant to the Artistic Director of the local Opera was stabbed on the street and nearly died.
    Downtown Johanesburg, a most elegant Art Decco precint, was deserted by its original inhabitants and became a squaters’ wasteland.
    I went to the Waverley ( Johanesburg ) Shul on Shabbes, there was a Bar Mitzvah on ,but no more than about forty people in attendance. Most Jews already fled. Houses in the area had 4 metre high fences, electrified wire, security guards inside and constant security vehicles patrolling the area.

    True, Mandela symbolises the struggle for a just world, but
    alone he could not implement the justice so many believe in.

    As about Zionism and post Mandela S.A………….Better deal with it some other time.

  2. Liat Nagar says:

    While I admire Nelson Mandela for his fortitude, his determination and his spirit, against extraordinary odds, and pay my respects to news of his death, I do believe that he has spoken out against Israel in the past for what he perceived to be the persecution of the Palestinians (as has Desmond Tutu). He stood firm in the knowledge of his own world in South Africa and made informed decisions in relation to it, however was hugely mistaken in paralleling the Apartheid situation existing there with the conflict and problems of the Israeli/Palestinian situation.

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