Eli Kay (Shutterstock with additions by United With Israel) (Shutterstock with additions by United With Israel)
Eli Kay

Pretoria has nothing to say about the murder of Eli Kay but plenty to say about Miss South Africa’s plans to compete in Israel.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

The South African government shamefully abandoned two of its own citizens.

Eliyahu (Eli) Kay, a 26-year-old South African-Israeli from Johannesburg, was killed by a Hamas terrorist on Sunday. He was laid to rest on Monday but no representative from the South African embassy bothered to attend.

To drive from the South African embassy in Ramat Gan to the Har HaMenuchot cemetery on Jerusalem’s western outskirts takes less than an hour.

The South African government has not condemned Kay’s murder nor denounced Hamas for killing one of its citizens. No South African official has even offered an expression of condolence to Kay’s family.

Not even a tweet.

The embassy didn’t even respond to United With Israel emails or phone calls for comment.

It’s not too late. If any South African dignitaries officials care to reach out to the family, Eli’s parents, siblings and fiancee are sitting shiva in the city of Modi’in in central Israel. A shiva house isn’t hard to find.

Yet Pretoria had no problem finding its voice to abandon another one of its citizens who got caught up in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

After Lalela Mswane won the Miss South Africa pageant, she faced immediate pressure from her country’s BDS movement not to compete in the Miss Universe pageant. The December 13 competition is taking place in the Israeli city of Eilat.

Pretoria made a special point of distancing itself from Mswane and the stubborn Miss South Africa pageant organizers, who refused to give in to the BDS bullies.

“The atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians are well documented, and [the] government, as the legitimate representative of the people of South Africa, cannot in good conscience associate itself with such,” a government statement said.

At first glance, Mswane and Kay don’t have much in common.

Mswane is a 24-year-old model, beauty queen and law student from the KwaZulu Natal province. She will spend the next year as a goodwill ambassador, role model, and public personality surrounded by glitter and paparazzi. Mswane has her whole life ahead of her.

Kay was a 26-year-old former lone IDF soldier originally from Johannesburg. He served in an IDF paratroopers unit and studied in Kiryat Gat’s Chabad yeshiva. He completed his military service in 2019.

He also worked as a guide for the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.

There will be no glitter for Kay’s family, friends and the South African Jewish community picking up the pieces. We can only imagine how Eli Kay’s life might have unfolded.

Mswane’s views on the Mideast are not known. But bucking South Africa’s prevailing support for the Palestinians is no small thing.

Kay blazed the trail that led to his family’s aliyah. After moving to Israel, his younger brothers, and then his parents and youngest sister, followed suit.

“He made us all so proud,” said South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein.

The South African government has clearly disassociated itself not just from Israel, but from Mswane and Kay – and Kay’s family.

Pretoria will presumably turn a blind eye to the pay for slay terror stipends that the family of Fadi Abu Shkhaydam will likely receive from the Palestinian Authority. Abu Shkhaydam is  the Hamas-affiliated terrorist who killed Kay and injured four others, including one who remains in critical condition.

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