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KZN Zionist leader, Antony Arkin, makes aliya

  • Arkin
After 42 years of community service, Professor Antony Arkin is pursuing his lifelong dream of making aliya.
by LAUREN SHAPIRO | Nov 16, 2017

Arkin may have earned a doctorate in economics, but it’s his commitment to Jewish and Zionist organisations that will be his lasting legacy in our community.

The former Capetonian met his wife Marion Beit at Rhodes University and followed her to Durban in 1974. He had no aspiration to communal politics.

“My ambition was to be assistant warden of Bnei Brit and eventually I became the national vice president,” he would tell people.

Arkin has worn numerous “hats” in the community, many with a strong Zionist fit. He is chairman of the KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council, treasurer of the South African Zionist Federation and an ex officio member of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies.

He is also a delegate of the Vaad Hapoel (working committee) of the World Zionist Organisation, a member of the General Assembly of the Jewish Agency, and he sits on the executive of Keren Kayemet Le’Yisrael (the Jewish National Fund).

Congregationally, Arkin has been very involved with Reform Judaism, as president of the Durban Progressive Jewish Congregation and national vice chairman of the South African Union of Progressive Jewry, as well as chairman of Artzeinu, South Africa.

He has also been editor of Hashalom - Durban’s monthly Jewish magazine - for the past 15 years.

Communal life presents its challenges. Arkin says the key to successful leadership is “learning to respect differences”.

The couple are making aliya in December and will join their children and grandchildren who already live in Israel. “It’s not a push factor, but a pull factor,” he explains. “We wish every success to the community.”

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