The Nelson Mandela Foundation has denied Israeli media claims that Mandela had been trained by Israeli operatives in Ethiopia back in 1962.
In a statement published on its website, the Foundation said: “Media have picked up on a story alleging that in 1962 Nelson Mandela interacted with an Israeli operative in Ethiopia.”
The Foundation explained that it has searched related documents and found no evidence to confirm the allegation, which was first reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
“The Nelson Mandela Foundation can confirm that it has not located any evidence in Nelson Mandela’s private archive, which includes his 1962 diary and notebook, that he interacted with an Israeli operative during his tour of African countries in that year.”
According to the statement, “both Mandela’s diary and the notebook were used as evidence against him in the 1963-1964 Rivonia Trial for sabotage.”
The Foundation did acknowledge that Mandela had received training in 1962, but insisted that it was not with Israeli operatives.
“In 1962 Mr Mandela received military training from Algerian freedom fighters in Morocco and from the Ethiopian Riot Battalion at Kolfe outside Addis Ababa, before returning to South Africa in July 1962,” the statement said.
It went on: “In 2009 the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s senior researcher travelled to Ethiopia and interviewed the surviving men, who assisted in Mandela’s training, and he found no evidence emerged of an Israeli connection.”
The Foundation is based in a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa and was established as Mandela’s post-presidential office to provide a base for his charitable work.
Last Friday, Haaretz published an op-ed which claimed that Israel’s National Archive held documents proving that in 1962, the anti-apartheid South-African activist had been trained in weaponry and sabotage by Israeli embassy staff in Ethiopia who were likely Mossad agents.