2023 Press Releases, Press Releases

Israel barred from International Rugby Tournament

Israel barred from International Rugby Tournament

03 February 2023

The human rights organisation, Africa4Palestine, welcomes the decision by South African Rugby to withdraw its invitation to the Israeli rugby team, “Tel Aviv Heat.”. SA Rugby, in a statement released earlier today, confirmed that the Israeli team has been given the boot!

We particularly thank the South African Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Cde Nathi Mthethwa, and all other stakeholders for upholding South Africa’s commitment to human rights and solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle against Israeli Apartheid. Thank you to all  sports and rugby representatives who engaged the matter.

The Israeli rugby team, Tel Aviv Heat, was to play in the recently announced “Mzansi Challenge” due to start on 24 March 2023. Given the withdrawal the Israel rugby team will now be replaced by a team from Mexico.

In 2017 South Africa’s ruling party, the ANC, adopted a resolution to downgrade South Africa’s Embassy in Israel. Since then, South Africa has limited diplomatic relations with Israel and no ambassador posted to Tel Aviv. 

We commend the South African government, sporting associations, representatives and others for embracing the spirit of global solidarity with the oppressed. International solidarity was made popular by the global anti-apartheid movement in the 70s and 80s when Apartheid South African rugby teams were barred from participating in international events. Today international solidarity is being made popular by the international anti-apartheid movement to isolate the Apartheid regime of Israel. 

We thank our supporters and allies who engaged with us and SA Rugby on this issue and for making your voices heard.


Africa4Palestine Director, Muhammed Desai: +27 (0) 84 211 9988
Africa4Palestine Spokesperson, Tisetso Magama: +27 (0) 76 979 8801
Africa4Palestine Media Liaison, Alie Komape: +27 (0) 76 979 8801

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Africa4Palestine is a registered Non-Profit Company. Registration Number: 2020/549404/08
Africa4Palestine is a registered Section 18 Public Benefit Organization. Registration Number: 930071587

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