Over 300 young people from various cultures, tribes and provinces attended DEISI International’s first annual Youth Summit in Johannesburg on Saturday September 24.
“We give God glory for the incredible success of the Youth Summit, this despite all the criticism and accusations that the event would be a failure! God continues to be faithful!” said Olga Meshoe CEO of DEISI (Defend, Embrace, Invest[in] and Support Israel) after the event which aimed to raise awareness among the youth of South Africa on “The Case for Zionism: Why it’s real, relevant and empowering”.
Themba Mncube, a well-known South African actor and proud Zionist was the MC and kept the youth highly energised, attentive and focused throughout. They were also entertained by various cultural groups in songs and dance.
Starting the formal proceedings for the day was DEISI International president and founder, Rev Kenneth Meshoe. He laid the foundation by explaining what Zionism is and why all Africans who want to see peace and prosperity need to be friends of Israel.
International guest speaker, Pastor Dumisani Washington from Christians United for Israel in the United States was the keynote speaker. Darius Jones from the Vanguard Leadership Group (also from the US) was a main speaker.
Dumisani unpacked Israel’s history and the facts regarding the Middle East conflict and explained that there is a biblical mandate to Zionism and thathat “the language of Zionism is the language of justice.”
“The starting point to building the Christian Zionist case for Israel is reminding other Christians of God’s eternal covenant with the Jewish people. Generally anti-Semitism is a result of biblical and historical illiteracy and the starting point,” he said.
Understanding that Zionism was the language of justice would help youth to make a strong case against the de-legitimisation of Israel which was rife at universities – especially during Israel Apartheid week.
Darius Jones shared on the nine pillars of dynamic citizenship and the power of positive thinking. A key lesson from his breakout session was that self-realisation and actualisation are required to effectively bring about positive change and empowerment in one’s community. He illustrated this key point with examples from the Israeli and Jewish communities.
Youth at the summit were also equipped with practical tools to sharpen critical thinking skills, and win debates and expose lies and misconceptions about Israel. Leon Mithi — a law student and social activist and 2015 Pan-African Universities Debating Championships winner — facilitated this breakout session.
Olga Meshoe challenged attendees to understand their value and know who their friends wereso that they can be agents of change in the nation and on the continent. True friends do not lie to you! The BDS lies to youth and so cannot be regarded as a friend, she said. Israel, through its various projects, is a nation that contributes the most to Africa.
She also challenged attendees as to what personal responsibility they were taking for problems they faced in their communities and nation. Like David who took it upon himself to deal with Goliath, South Africa needed young people who were prepared to take ownership for finding solutions to the various challenges we face in our country and in Africa, she said.
Other speakers were Lufuno Gogolo and Klass Mokgomole who shared their personal experiences in advocating that Israel is not an apartheid state. They called on the youth to be proactive in educating their friends and constituency on the need to stand with Israel and why doing so would benefit them and the nation at large.