The Speaker of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament), Mr. Yuli Edelstein headed the official Israeli Delegation to the Mandela Memorial at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
Mr. Yuli Edelstein was joined by 5 parliamentarians; Pnina Tamano-Shata (Yesh Atid), Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid), Hilik Bar (Labor), Gila Gamliel (Likud-Beytenu) and Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz).
Edelstein, a former Prisoner of Conscience under the Soviet Regime, described the ceremony as “very moving” and paid tribute to Mandela, “The nation of Israel, which is represented by this versatile delegation, will remember him as someone who abandoned violence in his just struggle for equal rights for blacks and whites alike."
MK Tamanu-Shata, who was born in Ethiopia and is the first female Ethiopian Knesset member, said, "I am proud and excited to attend this historic occasion, when we say goodbye to a leader who changed the face of a nation"
"As someone who was born in Africa I feel privileged to represent Israel at the memorial ceremony for a black leader who made history and changed not only South Africa, but the whole world with his sensitivity. He fought against racism and discrimination", she added.
President Peres, in an interview on South African TV described Mandela as “more than a friend, more than a leader, he was a teacher whose life was supposed to be a legend and became a legendary reality. To the South African people he said, “I feel with you, and feel a part of you and I look upon him [Mandela] as a man that raised unforgettable hope and unending attempts to make our world a better place to live.”
President Peres added that he hoped “to visit his tomb and pay my respects.”