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Expanding support for South African Aliyah

Yehuda Sharf (Director of Aliyah and Absorption, JAFI), Mario Lev (Chairman of the Council of Immigrant Associations), Danny Lamm (Chairman of the Aliyah and Rescue Committee, JAFI), Orly Zuckerman (Director of Absorption Programs for Western Olim, JAFI) and Dorron Kline (Telfed CEO) at the Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting

On Sunday 24 June 2018 Telfed participated in a meeting of the Aliyah Committee at the Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting held in Jerusalem. At Telfed's request, the status of South African Aliyah was added to the agenda. Following a recent visit to South Africa for the Aliyah Expo in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Telfed staff voiced their concerns regarding  the current level of support available to olim from South Africa, who are dealing with a very weak Rand. This created the impetus for Telfed to propose that a resolution be adopted to improve the Aliyah and absorption process through the provision of special benefits for South African olim.

With the support of Mario Lev, Chairman of the Council of Immigrant Associations (of which Telfed is a member), Dorron Kline presented the challenges relating to South African Aliyah: “The "push factors" driving Aliyah are well known –violent crime, a rise in anti-Semitism and a vociferous BDS movement based in South Africa. While emigration to Israel is always an option for South African Jewry, the viability is now questioned because of the rising costs of living in both South Africa and Israel coupled with a weaker Rand. In order to ensure that Aliyah remains a feasible option, Telfed proposes improving the Aliyah basket available to future South African olim.”

The Aliyah Committee of the Jewish Agency thus resolved that, owing to the increasingly difficult situation facing South African Jewry, a special task force will be set up between Telfed and the Jewish Agency Aliyah Division. This Task Force will draw up a plan of action to improve the Aliyah and absorption benefits that will be given to South African olim. The plan will then be presented to the Ministry of Absorption and the Israeli government for implementation.


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