We, as a Congregation, cannot ignore the present events in Israel and the difficult position in which our brethren find themselves penned in on all sides by the enemy. The Israelites won the admiration of the free world by their recent activities in the Sinai desert. We can only hope and pray that by the good services of the United Nations and the Allies, we may yet in the near future see the bringing of a new era of peace and prosperity to the state of Israel. We here can help by working for and giving generously to the present IUA Campaign, Recent events in Egypt and Hungary have caused our brethren distress and we can see the ugly face of fascism reappearing. The fate of Jews in these countries is of grave concern to all of us.

This was the appeal of president Arenson at its AGM on 4.12.1956. The year before the synagogue had held a special service of intercession for the welfare and safety of the State of Israel and had welcomed her Minister Bavly. It is just as well that Arenson lacked a crystal ball to see how the good services of the United Nations were to change once the Arab voting block gained ascendance and how the admiration of the free world disappeared once Israel was no longer the underdog.

Only eight years after the establishment of the state, the young Israeli army had successfully invaded Egypt at the request of Britain and France after Egypt had nationalised the Suez Canal. Political pressure from America, Russia and the UN forced them to withdraw and their political success emboldened Russia to invade Hungary. Egypt stripped citizenship from its Jews, branding them Zionists and enemies of the state. Thousands of Jews were ordered to leave the country taking only one suitcase and a small sum of cash, and were forced to sign declarations "donating" their property to the Egyptian government. Among these refugees were the family whose daughter was to marry this writer’s brother.

In 1957 Menachem Begin, leader of the Revisionist party (and later to become Israeli premier in 1977 and to negotiate a peace treaty with Egypt) visited South Africa. He approached the shul for seats for the High Festivals. They agreed to give him free seats, but would not allow him to address the congregation, on the grounds that “lay gentlemen were not allowed to do so” (29.8.1957).