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Celebrating 70 years of Ashkelon & South African Jewish Community's direct involvement for the establishment of this seaside city

Seventy years ago, in 1949, the South African Jewish community raised one million British Pounds which they donated to the newly established State of Israel in order to help refugees.

Mrs. Golda Meyerson (who later became Prime Minister Golda Meir) challenged the South African community with the task of using this money to design, build and manage a new city to be called Afridar and to be located in a desolate area known then as Maj’dal, the historical biblical city of Ashkelon.
The South African Jewish community rose to the challenge and built a most attractive city which they designed, built and managed for refugees entering the fledgling new State. In December 1959, their task completed, a ceremony was held whereby the keys to the city were handed over to the Israeli government.

Although the main street in Ashkelon is called Rechov Darom Africa, with others called Rechov Johannesburg and Rechov Kaapstad, neither Israeli’s nor South Africans are aware of this huge contribution of South African Jewry towards the successful establishment of the State of Israel.
Today, Ashkelon is a thriving city with a population expected to grow to 450,000 people over the next 10 years.

 Photo credit: אדי ישראל - אוצר רגעים

To honor the South African contribution and to encourage Aliya, the city is subsidizing a weekend at the Leonardo Hotel 13/14 and 15th Dec 2019. South African born England’s Chief Rabbi Mirvis will attend Shacharit on Shabbat in the main Ashkenazi Shul ( built by South Africans) this will be followed by Kiddush, Also attending will be the Mayor of Ashkelon. M.K. Avi Dichter has been invited to speak. We will also be honored with the presence of Avraham Infeld a legendary educator, who will share heartwarming stories of Ashkelon of old!

Friday 13th Dec the municipality has arranged for a free tour of the city and surrounding areas. Saturday night there will be live entertainment at Michlelet Ashkelon as well as an auction of Art donated by South African Artists. All proceeds will be earmarked to help Ethiopian students studying at the Michlala. Final details of program to be published at a later date.

The threefold aim is to promote Aliya from South Africa to Ashkelon , to promote the city of Ashkelon itself, and to make both South Africans and Israeli’s aware of this amazing and forgotten achievement. 

  • To book for this unforgettable experience please call 03 511 0000  
  • To benefit receiving a substantial discount please make sure to mention that you are part of the South African Federation group to Leonardo Ashkelon
  • Cancellation is possible with no cancellation fee, and with full refund, until 1 week before ( 5th December 2019, after which full payment will be charged)
  • If you encounter a problem with booking arrangements, mention arranged via Chen Volter חן וולטר

For questions please email


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