Judge Richard Goldstone, who headed a war crimes probe that has infuriated Israel and Jewish communities around the world, will not be attending his grandson’s bar mitzva in Johannesburg next month, according to a South African newspaper.
Goldstone will not be present when his grandson performs the religious rite, following an agreement between the family, the South African Zionist Organization (SAZF) and the Beith Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue in Sandton, where the event will take place, the South African Jewish Report said.
South African Jews think of Richard Goldstone
The South African jurist led the UN-sanctioned investigation into suspected war crimes committed during last year’s armed conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
SAZF chairman Avrom Krengel said his organization had “interacted” on the matter with the chief rabbi, the beit din
(rabbinical court) and others, adding that the federation was “coming across most forcefully because we represent Israel,” the paper said.
Rabbi Moshe Kurtstag, head of the local beit din, commented that the court had not been officially consulted, though there had been “private talks,” and that the synagogue had not asked it to give a ruling on the matter.
“But I know that there was a very strong feeling in the shul
, a lot of anger [around the issue of Justice Goldstone attending],” the newspaper quoted Kurtstag as saying.
“I heard also that the SAZF wanted to organize a protest outside the shul – [there were] all kinds of plans. But I think reason prevailed,” Kurtstag added.
Meanwhile, Goldstone was quoted in the newspaper as saying that “in the interests of my grandson, I’ve decided not to attend the ceremony at the synagogue.”Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.