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Meet our new leadership

KDL rocks – the Class of ‘88

This year, Telfed (SAZF, Israel) enters its 70th year of operation.  In an era when many Aliyah organisations in Israel have become defunct, Telfed continues to grow from strength to strength in serving a growing number of Southern Africans living in Israel.  One of the greatest ‘assets’ in ensuring long term stability and development is manifested in a group of talented, altruistic lay-leaders, who give of their time voluntarily, in order to oversee the management of Telfed.

Following elections at the AGM, Chairman Maish Isaacson handed over the baton to Batya Shmukler after three very successful terms of office (2007-2011, 2015-2017).

Dynamic Duo – Telfed Chairman Batya (right) and Vice-Chair Robby (left) are assisted by talented Treasurer Steven Flax (following)

An English teacher by profession, the Johannesburg born mother of 4 made Aliyah to Ra’anana 25 years ago, together with her husband Jonathan. She has been actively involved in Telfed for nine years, serving as a member of the Telfed Absorption Committee, Chairman of the Endowments, Scholarships & PRAS Committee and, for the past 4 years, as Telfed’s Vice Chairman.

Batya’s rational and vibrant nature perfectly complements the organization’s drive to adapt itself to changing needs, whilst continuing to provide practical, emotional and financial support to the South African community in Israel.

Not only is Batya Telfed’s youngest Chairman ever elected, she is the first woman to hold such a position in the organisation’s history. We wish her best of luck as she embarks on her community leadership term.  

Stepping in as her very able Deputy is Robby Hilkowitz, who has been involved with Telfed voluntarily for the past 4 years and who also originally hails from Johannesburg.  Robby holds a degree in Finance and Mathematics from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.  Outside of supervising Telfed’s charitable activities, Robby is an angel investor, specializing in the financial services industry and in former capacities served as Executive Director of the Stonehage Group and CEO of the group’s asset management company, TriAlpha Investment Advisors.

Robby returned to Israel from London in 2009 and lives in Ra’anana with his wife and four children.  A man of fine tastes, he enjoys Scotch whisky, photography and watching American Football. He supports Chelsea in football, South Africa in rugby and Australia in cricket.

Besides his impressive work portfolio, finesse and judicious counsel, Robby invests a significant amount of time in philanthropy and is a director of several philanthropic organizations which deal with care for the ageing, poverty relief and personal debt management and extraction.

Voted in as Treasurer for the next two years is Steven Flax, who has taken over the reins from Zvi Green.  Steven has over 20 years of commercial and auditing experience. Formerly a Senior Manager at Ernst and Young and CFO of a publicly traded company with subsidiaries in the UK and Eastern Europe, he currently serves as a Partner at Aron Bakst.  A qualified Chartered Accountant in both South Africa and Israel, Steven made Aliyah from Johannesburg 19 years ago and also lives in Raanana with his family. Steven’s vast knowledge is supplemented with a most entertaining sense of humour, which livens up many a dreary financial meeting.


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