January 1, 2009 / 5 Tevet 2009
New immigrants from South Africa greeted by Jewish Agency chairman at Western Wall, today
Making Aliyah Despite the War
The last 80 Olim of 2008 arrived last night from South Africa
A moving reception for the new immigrants was held today at the Wailing Wall, in the presence of Jewish Agency chairman Ze'ev Bielski, Minister of Absorption Eli Aflalo and Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat.
In spite of the escalation in the security situation, 80 new immigrants from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban landed in Israel last night, in a special Jewish Agency flight. When asked whether the situation in Israel affected them, they replied that they love Israel and feel privileged to make aliyah at such a time.
In the light of political turmoil, crime and violence in South Africa and following the Jewish Agency special programs to encourage aliyah, there has been a growing interest in aliyah to Israel. The number of Olim from South Africa was doubled this year, reaching 350 new immigrants, compared with 178 in 2007.
To ease bureaucracy, the Jewish Agency established a swift "one-stop-shop", where Olim will be able to register at the Ministry of Interior and receive ID cards the day after their arrival in Israel.
There are 60,000 Jews currently living in South Africa, including 45,000 in Johannesburg and 15,000 in Cape town. Since the founding of the State of Israel, 21,000 Jews from South Africa have made Aliyah and have successfully integrated into Israeli society.
These were the last Olim for 2008, a year in which 16,000 people made aliyah from around the world. In the past week, the Jewish Agency has operated an airlift bringing over 500 new immigrants from Russia, England, North America and South Africa. Although the situation in Israel is uncertain, none of the immigrants cancelled their arrival.
Jewish Agency Chairman presents a donation of computers to children in Ashkelon on Wednesday
Distance E-Learning for Children in the South
Israeli companies donate computers to children in Ashkelon
Dozens of children and families under rocket attack in Ashkelon were thrilled yesterday as they received computers generously donated by Amdocs Israel and Electra. The computers were given in the presence of Jewish Agency chairman, Ze'ev Bielski and Benny Vaknin, mayor of Ashkelon.
Following the IDF decision not to open schools in southern areas at present, the Jewish Agency began a campaign to acquire computers for children confined to their homes. These computers will enable the children to take part in the E-Learning program operated by the Ministry of Education, which will allow them to continue their studies from home.
Youth participating in Net@, a Jewish Agency program for technological advancement, will teach the children how to use the computers.