Umm Muhammed Umar
Eliyahu David Kay emigrated from Johannesburg to Israel and thereafter gained Israeli citizenship, and for while joined the Israeli army. He was killed during gunfire with Palestinians near the Babul Silsila, or the chain gate, one of the gates of Masjid al Aqsa. This has generated a lot of discussion. Hafidh Ebrahim Moosa, on Radio Islam’s ‘Under the Radar’, said, “On the one hand, you have family and the community from which David Kay comes in South Africa, expressing anger, mourning his loss and so forth, and on the other hand, many voices for justice in South Africa, asking wider questions about South Africans serving in the Israeli army. Let’s go through some of these this evening with. Hafidh Ibrahim had been speaking to Zenit Adam, the deputy executive director of the Africa Middle East Centre.
Eliyahu David Kay’s officially serviced in the IDF from around 2017 to 2019. Some international human rights advocates say that at the time that he was killed, he was a civilian. Adam said that while Kay had been enlisted in the IDF and at the time of his death, was no longer serving physically, even if inactive, he was still considered an IDF reservist. He was working, including on the day of his death, supposedly as a tour guide. She added, however, that that work was within the ambit of the Israeli security network. Adam said, “we regret all of this, but we need to understand the context within which this incident took place. If we look at the last few months, we’ve seen an escalation of tensions in Al Quds, and particularly around the area of Sheikh Jarrah; we’ve seen the appropriation of land; we’ve seen the demolition of homes; we’ve seen the desecration of cemeteries and landmarks around al Haram al Quds.” She further said, “but this [Jerusalem] is the sanctuary and the centrality of Palestine…….. anyone who served in the IDF is a combatant…..even when they’re not active within the IDF, but as a reservist, they are still combatant [with]in the space.” She said that they would still effectively be acting on behalf of the settler occupation within the Palestinian territories. Adam reiterated that human rights needed to be acknowledged within the wider scope when examining Kay’s case.
Adam said that while we can theorize, and we can sit outside of the space in which the occupation is taking place, and we can cast our own opinions about how resistance should actually be affected, none of us are on the frontlines where children are being arrested, harassed, and terrorized on a daily basis, where cemeteries are being desecrated, where people who have been imprisoned are still being held in prison even after they have passed away. She commented, “The kind of brutality that this occupation has had on the Palestinian people for decades, for 70 odd years, is unbearable. We are in no position to judge HOW the Palestinians should resist, and if we do so, we aren’t recognizing the kind of pressure that they’re living under, the constant bombardment from the Israelis, and the constant terrorizing by the IDF. Kay is being hailed as a hero in some places. In response to this Adam said, “this is a systematic approach of recruiting people from South Africa and from other parts of the world, enlisting them into the IDF, making them, those soldiers and those tools of occupation.” She said that without people like Eliyahu David Kay going to Israel, claiming to want dual citizenship, and enlisting in the IDF, Israel would not have the strength of the occupation that we’re currently witnessing.
Further, the action being taken by western governments, and most recently by Britain, to cast not just the military wing of Hamas, but also its political bureau, as a terrorist organization, defeats the purpose of trying to find peace in occupied Palestine.