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Telfed's HISTORY

1948
Telfed Sets Up Office
The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) opens an office in Israel to service SA volunteers who arrive to fight in the War of Independence. “We are dishing out pocket money to our volunteers to supplement their meager pay packets, provide an address for their mail and distribute parcels,” says Mike Udwin, Secretary of the new ‘Telfed’ office.

May 14th, 1948
The Coming Storm
While Ben Gurion proclaims the Declaration of Independence in Tel Aviv, pilot Boris Senior and navigator Smoky Simon fly out in the first operational flight over enemy territory.

June 1st, 1948
Raid On Amman
Boris Senior, Commander of the base at Sde Dov, leads a three plane surprise night attack on King Abdulah’s palace where Arab leaders are expected to be meeting. Fellow South African and navigator, Dov Judah relates how he served as the ‘bomb thrower’. “We circled the city and identified the palace. I never saw the bombs explode – only the lights go out.”

Telfed Keeps Community Connected
Following the collapse of the international postal service with the sudden withdrawal of the British from Palestine, Telfed and Peltours, the leading travel and tourist enterprise in Israel, join forces to introduce Peltours Mail, keeping intact Israel’s links with Southern Africa.

Katz for Knesset
Shmuel (Muki) Katz, who arrived in Palestine in 1938 and served as a member of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, is elected to Israel’s first Knesset. Muki was the last commander of the Irgun in the battle for Jerusalem in 1948.

September 9th ,1948
Telfed Welcomes SA Relief Ship
A Telfed delegation led by its Chairman Joseph Janower and Secretary Mike Udwin meet the crew on board the ship the ‘Benny Skou’ that is off-loading in Tel Aviv Harbor, dehydrated vegetables, medical supplies, linen, clothing, toiletries and cigarettes from South Africa.

Plane Truth
During the recent war, Westair planes, owned and operated by the SAZF, fly in twice a week from South Africa with urgent food and military supplies. Morris Borsuk, a director of the company, and in 1984 Telfed Chairman, tells the Telfed Times, :”Within six months of the founding of the Jewish State, the airline is incorporated into Israel’s new international airline El Al”.

1949
Doctor Does tent Calls
Dr. Mary Gordon sets up a large clinic in the “tent city” of Rosh Ha’ayin for the surge of immigrants arriving from Yemen. [Ed. note: The maternity wing at Ashkelon’s Bazilai Hospital, which opened in 1961 with the financial support of the South African Zionist Federation, was named after Dr. Mary Gordon.]

Building A Future
Telfed is building a new neighbourhood on Smuts Boulevard, Tel Aviv, known as Shikun Machal, which will house the Machalniks and others who wish to remain in Israel.

1953
Jack Geri Appointed Minister
Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion appoints former South African Jack Geri (Gering), former Managing Director of African-Palestine Investments, to the position of Minister of Commerce and Industry.

1954
Affordable Housing
Telfed opens a 3-story building, housing apartments for newcomers and a hostel for youngsters in Tel-Aviv.

1956
Suez Crisis Sparks New Wave of Volunteers
As dark clouds again loom over the Middle East, Telfed braces to welcome Nachal volunteers from Southern Africa. “The volunteers serve both militarily and work the land,” says David Dunsky, Chairman of Telfed. Over 150 Southern Africans volunteered for service during the Sinai Campaign.

1957
Telfed On The Air
The unmistakable voice of Simie Weinstein is being heard in homes in Southern Africa, in English and Afrikaans, as he reports on events in Israel. ‘Kol Zion Lagola’ is a project of Telfed. In addition, there is a weekly feature on the activities of Southern Africans settled in Israel, ‘From the Federation’ - by Telfed director, Sam Levin.

1959
The Ashkelon Story
Ashkelon is a city established and initially administered by Southern Africans. A company called ‘Afridar’ is formed and builds 468 cottages overlooking the Mediterranean. The first

mayor is South African Dr. Henry Sonnaband. He is succeeded by Leo Tager, a former Vice Chairman of the SAZF. South Africans fill the posts of town clerk and treasurer. Many of the streets are named after South African cities such as Kaapstad, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg.

1961
First Family Ulpan
Israel Dunsky, Telfed’s new Chairman, reports that the unused barracks in Shikun Dora, near Netanya, have been taken over by Telfed for the purpose of creating a family ulpan for Southern African olim.

June 1967
They Dropped Everything and Came
“Telfed has been in the thick of it keeping tabs on over 900 volunteers dispersed all over the country,” says Telfed Director Leib Frank. In the years to follow, Telfed Chairman Leo Kowarsky invests great efforts in helping many of these volunteers settle in Israel.

1970
Off To See The Queen
Former South African Michael Comay, a veteran officer in the Israel Foreign Service is appointed Israeli ambassador to Great Britain. In 1959, Comay had succeeded Abba Eban, (also born in South Africa), as Israel’s ambassador to the UN.

1972
Hertzel Katz founds Keren Telfed.

1973
Volunteering in The October War
Telfed Chairman, Judge Joseph Herbstein welcomes hundreds of Southern African volunteers, who rally to help Israel in its time of need.

May 1976
Telfed Goes ‘Flat Out’ in Ra’anana
Josie Shlain, Chairman of Telfed’s Building and Housing Committee, reports: “Foundations are being laid for Telfed’s 5-storey apartment building in Ra’anana, which will provide rental accommodation for new immigrants from Southern Africa.”

1978
Seeds Planted for Ra’anana Bowls Club
A delegation led by Abe Bik, approaches Telfed for assistance in establishing a bowls club in Ra’anana. Telfed provides seed money for the club.

May 21st,1981
Home With A Vie
Director Itz Stein, representing Telfed, welcomes over 500 people at the official opening of Telfed’s latest housing development, Moshav Manof, home to 40 South African families.

1981
Telfed Opens New Building
Telfed’s new 10-story apartment complex – adjacent to the existing hostel building in Tel Aviv - opens. “This development offers first-rate housing for our olim,” says Max Miodownik, who was Telfed Chairman at the time when the decisions were made to build for new olim.

1984
Sidney Shapiro is appointed Director of Telfed.

1986
Urban Pioneering
Julius Weinstein, Chairman of the SAZF, receives an undertaking from his good friend, Arik Sharon, Minister of Housing, to allocate a tract of land for the building of a new settlement pioneered and championed by Telfed - Kochav Yair.

May 1986
Memorial to SA Fallen
A ceremony is held near the Golani Junction to unveil the memorial sculpture by David Fine, which pays homage to soldiers of Southern African origin who have died in the service of the State of Israel.

1987
Telfed Leads The Way
Breaking away from traditional absorption frameworks, Telfed introduces a new concept of direct absorption, soon to be adopted by the Ministry of Absorption. Says Telfed Chairman Leon Charney: “We have chosen Rishon Lezion for a large contingent of Southern African families to be housed in furnished apartments and to receive special subsidies and community services, provided by the municipality, the Jewish Agency and

the Ministry of Absorption.”

1989
Tennis Star to Tennis Czar
President Herzog presents the Israel Prize to Dr. Ian Froman for his outstanding contribution to youth and sport in Israel. [Ed. Note: In 2000 former South African Prof. Hillel Daleski would be awarded the Israel Prize for his contribution to the research of 19th and 20th English Literature.]

1989
The Russians Are Coming
The Israeli government and the Jewish Agency commission Telfed to assist with the new mass wave of Russian Olim, with one firm instruction: “Do it the Telfed way.” “We are now administering over 500 apartments for Olim from the former Soviet Union throughout the country,” says Telfed Director Sidney Shapiro. Most of these were negotiated by former Telfed Chairman, Max Miodownik.

1989
Telfed Wins Tender
Amutat Eyal (Springbok), established by Telfed wins the tender for the building of 450 houses in Tsur Yigal.

November 1991
Budding Idea Blooming
Chairman Nick Alhadeff welcomes SA President F.W. de Klerk as the guest of honour at a reception given by Telfed at Beth Protea, the community’s new retirement home still under construction in Herzliya.

May 30th, 1993
Telfed Launches Campaign At Knesset
Rarely done before for issues not directly related to matters of State, the Knesset opens the Chagall Hall for the launch of Keren Telfed’s global fundraising campaign. Spearheading the campaign, Hertzel Katz says: “The aim is to ask the community to help our own people, our extended family, and their children, living in Israel.”

February 1997

SA Artists Exhibit
Telfed organizes an exhibition of works by Southern African artists living in Israel.

1998
Telfed Enters Cyberspace
Telfed is dragged into the new age by former Telfed Chairman Mike Fredman, who launches Telfed’s new website: www.telfed.org.il.

SA Athletes Honoured
Marking Telfed’s Jubilee year, a sports extravaganza is held at the Ra’anana Bowling Club where cups and certificates are presented to former Southern Africans who contributed over five decades to sport in Israel.

May 30th, 1993
Telfed Launches Campaign At Knesset
Rarely done before for issues not directly related to matters of State, the Knesset opens the Chagall Hall for the launch of Keren Telfed’s global fundraising campaign. Spearheading the campaign, Hertzel Katz says: “The aim is to ask the community to help our own people, our extended family, and their children, living in Israel.”

Telfed Honours its Outstanding Volunteers
Telfed honours its volutneers with special presentations to Annette Milliner-Giladi, Morris Borsuk, Leon Charney, Maurice Ostroff and Maya Tal.

January 1999
Telfed’s Jubilee Pageant
Telfed stages a spectacular production “Springboks and Sabras’ at Kfar Saba’s Yad Lebanim Cultural Centre. The story covers the journey of a family from a shtetl in Lithuania, their emigration to South Africa and the next generation moving on and settling in Israel.

April 2000
Climbing Olympus
Telfed honours 45 former Southern Africans who have reached the pinnacle in their particular field of endeavour. Entitled AAA – Academic Achievement Awards - judges selected five top recipients.

‘Centering’ on Israel
Telfed Chairman David Kaplan announces the approval of Telfed’s concept of establishing a new infrastructure in South Africa – the ‘Israel Centre’- coordinating under one umbrella all Israelrelated activities, from Zionist education and aliyah promotion to managing the 20 plus shlichim (emissaries) from Israel.

December 2002
‘The Show Must Go On’

With the untenable level of Arab violence and Jewish anxiety during the dark days of the Second Intifada, when people are afraid to leave their homes, Telfed decides that the community needs an uplift, and puts on a spectacular production:“The Show Must Go On”. The entire 810 seat auditorium in Kfar Saba is booked to capacity.

2003
With security unrest in the country, vastly increased requests are made of Telfed to supply financial assistance to those adversely affected. Chairman Solly Sacks negotiates with Telfed’s sister company, Isrentco, to provide substantial funds for urgent needs.

2005
City of Dreams
Telfed launches yet another housing project with apartments at attractive prices for Southern African Olim. Modiin is set to make future history as Israel’s fastest growing city.

February 2006
Telfed Honours it’s Heroes
“How do you pay tribute and say ‘thank you’ to people who have done what they have done, experienced what they experienced?” questions Telfed Chairman Itz Kalmanowitz at Telfed’s Tribute to the Southern Africans who volunteered during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 and the Suez Campaign in 1956.

2008
Honourable ‘Menchen’
Sharing a 60th birthday with the State of Israel, Telfed holds its Yakir Zion Award ceremony at Beth Hatfutsot honouring 27 members of the Southern African community for their outstanding contributions to Israeli society and Zionism. Speaking on behalf of his fellow recipients, Harry Hurwitz expresses the hope that for the Southern African Jews considering emigration, “Israel would be their choice.”

Group Aliyah flights from South Africa are initiated by the Israel Centre. Telfed plays an active role in preparing the Olim before the flight, meeting them on their arrival at Ben Gurion airport, providing them with Klitah advice at their Klitah Fair and participating in the welcome ceremonies held at the Kotel.

2009
This Year In Jerusalem
While the global assault on Israel is up, so too is Southern African Aliyah. Telfed Chairman, Maish Isaacson says, “As they leave from the Kotel, the most central place in all Judaism, to their new homes in Israel, they will have their identity documents and will have Israeli cell phones so that they can tell the world personally their good news - that they are“back home”.

2010
Telfed launches page on Facebook and attracts thousands of readers from around the world. The Telfed newsletter now reaches nearly 5,000 email addresses in Israel and abroad. The Telfed magazine is revamped into a full colour edition and continues to be widely acclaimed and well received by the community. Telfed representative invited to address the Jewish Congress in Washington, USA.

2012
Sands of Time – The Muizenberg Exhibition
Telfed Chairman Dave Bloom brings the Memories of Muizenberg Exhibition to Israel: “this fun in the sun of a community at leisure captures the special vitality of the Jewish narrative in Southern Africa. The exhibition proves a living, breathing visual testimony to a past era that I am proud that Telfed brought it to Israel.”

Telfed Honours its Outstanding Volunteers
Telfed honours its volunteers with special presentations to Annette Milliner-Giladi, Morris Borsuk, Leon Charney, Maurice Ostroff and Maya Tal.

 

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