The State of Israel may not send a senior political figure--either President Shimon Peres or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu--to South Africa for the memorial or funeral of former President Nelson Mandela this week, citing costs and security concerns. Similarly, the Dalai Lama--often associated in popular culture with Mandela as a symbol of peace--will not be attending either, after being repeatedly denied entry visas.
The Dalai Lama's absence is easier to understand. As South Africa and other African nations have moved closer to China's orbit, they have become more accommodating of Chinese foreign policy preferences. The South African government has been prepared to appease the Chinese government's wishes regarding the isolation of the Dalai Lama over the objections of local human rights activists and spiritual enthusiasts.