The past few months have been a rollercoaster of emotions in Israel as we’ve faced unprecedented tragedy and trauma, but also an outpouring of love, generosity, courage and resilience. The overwhelming sense of pride that our community felt as they saw photos of the first two South African Olot who landed at Ben Gurion in October after the war broke out, greeted by sirens in Ben Gurion Airport’s arrival hall, was unparalleled. Who would make Aliyah in these uncertain times? Over 160 South Africans and Australians!

Since the brutal attacks on Simchat Torah, we  have welcomed over 120 South African and over 40 Australian Olim, resolute in their decision to make Aliyah during a war. As Osher Amanda Favel said, “I promised myself that I would be in Israel before the end of the year.  Although I was a bit hesitant to come to Israel before the war happened (different cultures, a whole new way of life, etc.), the war took that anxiety away and made me want to come to Israel more than ever.  Everyone overseas suddenly seemed to be against Israel and spoke and spread lies about my beloved country and for this reason, I felt that now more than ever, I need to be in my country, with my people.”

Now that she is settling in her new home she adds, “I can truthfully say that even though there’s a war going on, I still feel safer here. I am so happy to be surrounded by other Jews and like-minded people as we all stand together and defend our beloved Israel against the world.  War or no war, I’m here to stay!”

In a recent interview on Israel’s Channel 12, young Olim from around the world (including Ben-Tziyon Opert from Cape Town) reflected on making Aliyah during a war. In unison, they spoke about a sense of solidarity, of belonging, and a desire to one day have children who will feel this same sense of belonging. 25 percent of own recent arrivals are between the ages of 18-25, and they join a remarkable nation, making their contribution to rebuilding and recovery in response to the attacks on 7 October.

As always, those considering Aliyah are advised to plan and prepare in advance. And while we are dealing with uncertainty, Telfed’s Klita (integration) team reiterates the importance of advance preparation. We also encourage future Olim to learn as much Hebrew as possible before their arrival. While new vocabulary may include miklat (bomb shelter) or mechabel (terrorist), it should also include giborim (heroes), mitnadvim (volunteers) and beyachad nenatzeach (together we will win).

Update from Telfed CEO, Dorron Kline:

I recently returned from the Aliyah EXPO in Cape Town and Johannesburg and extend our appreciation to our Aliyah partners in South Africa and Israel for arranging this important event. Vocal anti-Israel protestors outside the EXPOs in both cities did not deter nor detract and over the 3 days, I had personal meetings with over 70 potential Olim. I spoke to students at two high schools, and addressed four shul communities. It is always incredible to see young adults plan for their future in Israel. My most difficult conversations are with seniors who don’t have the means to make Aliyah but long to join loved ones in Israel. We have a responsibility to present potential Olim with all the facts so that they can make informed decisions for their future. Our team is available to provide information and guidance along the way.

Dorron shared highlights from Cape Town and Johannesburg as the EXPO wrapped up in both cities.

Updates from Telfed’s Klita Advisor, Daniela Shapira:

As Aliyah group flights from South Africa have been discontinued, new Olim arriving from South Africa will be travelling on Ethiopian Air, with flights landing at 4:00am. Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange a welcome party at that time but we ask that new Olim please send us your contact information as soon as you arrive so that we can be in touch with important information on the first steps in Israel.

I would also like to remind the community that our PRAS student, Eden, is available to assist with filling out Hebrew forms and documents, and she can help you navigate the app for your Kupat Cholim. If you would like to schedule a time for Eden to help you, please click here and complete the form. After Pesach, Eden will be available to assist you on Thursdays from 11:30-13:30.

Should you have any other Klita-related questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me: [email protected] / 09 790 7804 / 0586608048 (WhatsApp)