As we await the final Aliyah flight of 2021, despite the added complications synonymous with emigration during a pandemic, we have already welcomed the largest number of Olim since 1994.
Young singles (18 – 25-year olds) account for approximately 13% of our new arrivals. What makes this so remarkable is that the majority of these young men and women will be required to serve in the IDF to fulfil the mandatory army service expected of all young Israeli adults.
As matriculants complete their final exams and apply to universities in South Africa or abroad, each year, an enthusiastic group of young adults join approximately 100 South Africans who have chosen a less obvious path – one that will challenge them physically and emotionally. Their IDF service will allow them to expand their network, integrate into Israeli society, and give back to the State of Israel.
“We are in awe of the courage, determination and Zionist spirit that motivates our young Olim to uproot, resettle and serve without family nearby. Our team offers guidance to young Olim (before, during and after their service). In recent years, a wonderful virtual community of South African Lone Soldiers has flourished”, said Daniela Shapira, Telfed’s Klita Advisor.
Last month, Telfed invited over 150 South Africans and Australians to our annual Lone Soldier Brunch, hosted by Australia’s Ambassador to Israel, Paul Griffiths. As in previous years, we had the pleasure of treating our soldiers to a fun and relaxing morning where they met up with old friends and received gifts from Telfed and the community. This year, we were able to distribute gift cards and backpacks to those who attended.
UCT graduate and Sales Director at Keter International, Steve Taylor, arranged for the donation of lunch boxes and water bottles for each soldier. Telfed’s regional committees collected toiletries, and a delightful group of ladies from Raanana, Kfar Saba and surrounds spent a year in lockdown dedicated to the task of knitting over 150 blankets for our Lone Soldiers. The sense of community, of a common concern for the wellbeing of our soldiers, and a shared appreciation for their service to the State of Israel, ensured that each soldier left the brunch with a meaningful token of thanks.
Our soldiers have a supportive network behind the scenes, reflecting the sense of family that permeates our community.
If you know of Lone Soldiers who are not yet connected to our SA Lone Soldiers group, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Daniela: WhatsApp +972 58 660 8048.
• Published in the PDF edition of the December 2021/January 2022 issue – Click here to get it.
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