Israel/SA Community Co-operation
As well as tending to the 25,000 Southern Africans living in Israel, Telfed is committed to strengthening relations and encouraging collaborative efforts with the local SA community. With this in mind, former Director of Telfed, Sid Shapiro, paid a recent visit to SA to meet with leading members of the Cape Town community and some of Telfed’s many esteemed and valued partners. “The role of Telfed is integral in supporting olim from SA, in strengthening the Jewish State and providing vital absorption assistance. It was extremely uplifting to once again experience the tremendous welcome, support and encouragement of the Cape Town community” reported Sid.
JNF BDS Talk
In Israel, we started off the month by welcoming guest speakers Colonel Richard Kemp CBE, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and Isla Feldman, Director of SAZF. Joined by a JNF SA delegation, she detailed the ongoing challenges the S.A Jewish community faces, describing the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel actions employed by groups such as BDS. She also shared with the audience how the Jewish community weathers these attacks.
Colonel Kemp, a dedicated friend of Israel, gripped the audience with his fascinating perspective on last summer’s war against Hamas. Kemp observed that the high moral standards of the IDF are not comparable to any army in the world and also explained why he stands so firmly on Israel’s right to defend itself.
Memorial for 87 fallen SA soldiers
A total of 87 Southern African soldiers have lost their lives defending Israel since the establishment of the nation. This past month, Telfed held a memorial service at the South African War Memorial, attended by family and SA community members. Also present were participants in the SA JNF tour and Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, Rabbi to the Country Communities in Southern Africa.
The monument, located in the heart of the Lavi Forest, was designed by South African sculptor David Fine and erected in 1986, following Isla Feldman’s (SAZF SA) instrumental efforts. General (Res) Dr. Emanuel Sakal, who, as a Combat Commander had two South Africans under his command one who fell in the Six Day War of 1967 and the other in the Yom Kippur War in 1973. He spoke of the exceptional courage and dedication of the Southern Africans he encountered during his military career.
May their memories be for a blessing and their contributions to our country never be forgotten.
Initiatives helping the Ethiopian Community in Israel
TECI’s (the Telfed Ethiopian Community Initiative) most recent initiative is a pilot programme to help the Ethiopian Community open a retail shop in the Mevasseret Zion Absorption Center. Besides retailing good-quality clothing and household goods at affordable prices, the shop has an additional important purpose: to provide in-house marketing, commerce and communication skills to groups of Ethiopian youth so that they can proceed with talents, confidence and experience that will assist them to secure and explore a variety of employment opportunities. The project is run with the assistance of the volunteers of the Telfed Jerusalem Regional Committee.
Putting Ashkelon on the map
Part of the programme in the JNF tour from South Africa was a tour of the city of Ashkelon, (facilitated by Telfed’s local regional committee). Just north of Gaza and 36 miles south of Tel Aviv, the original “Afridar” neighborhood was established by South Africans in the early 1950’s and boasts a “Drom Africa Street”, a “Johannesburg Street” and even a “Kaapstad Street”.
The tour included a visit to the Ashkelon desalinisation plant which converts sea water into fresh water and supplies almost 20% of Israel’s drinking water.
Following this, the group was addressed by Ashkelon’s Chief Security Officer and visited the famous “Iron Dome” battery. They also had the opportunity to meet with senior members of Ashkelon’s municipality who spoke about future plans for the city, which has enjoyed a growth spurt in recent years.
Telfed remains committed to nurturing a national network of some 240 exSouthern African volunteers. We recently held a 2nd workshop in a series dedicated to strengthening and encouraging their contributions to Israeli society and the SA community in Israel, in order to provide more comprehensive services throughout the country.
Cherie Albucher from Modiin said, “I have been really impressed with the quality of the volunteering programme and as such, I can definitely see myself taking on new responsibilities representing Telfed.”
“We are an organisation that depends on the goodwill of volunteers to support a small, professional number of staff members,” said Chairman Dave Bloom. “These highly successful workshops ensure that we recruit new people and energy for the long-term susta