More opportunities in Israel for youth

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The number of South Africans going to Israel to do their high school and university studies there (partly free or heavily subsidised) has risen by leaps and bounds during 2016, according to the Israel Centre (The Jewish Agency’s offices in South Africa) and Telfed. Aliyah is up by more than 40 per cent in the past two years. Read how the numbers are soaring with more that 10 SA Jews heading to a new life or to study in Israel WEEKLY! See the full infographic inside...
by ANT KATZ | Dec 08, 2016

Aviad Sela, who has been the Jewish Agency’s (JA) shaliach in South Africa for the past two years, told Jewish Report this week that the Israel Centre is seeing much higher numbers of enquiries, which he attributes in part to the many young families who believe that Israel has more to offer them - and to the security uncertainty on South African campuses.

“People believe that a future offers less opportunity for young adults in South Africa,” says Aviad. “They do not believe that they will enjoy the opportunities their parents had” and are looking for a fresh start in a fast-growing economy and super hi-tech environment.

jafi - aviad“We are expecting to see similar growth in 2017,” predicts Sela.

RIGHT: The Jewish Agency for Israel's SA shaliach, Aviad Sela

One popular Israeli university, IDC, had such a flood of applications and because so many enquiries were still coming in daily from South Africa, that when registrations closed in May, the university extended its deadline - for South Africans only - and eventually closed with new South African enrolments up from an average 45 per year to 70 for the 2016/18 academic year.

One of these incentives would have included the new SASI funding scheme put together by Telfed (the SA Zionist Federation in Israel) together with South African donors whom Telfed has raised funds from directly.

The one-year MASA “gap year” programme has also attracted record numbers from South Africa, Sela told Jewish Report. In fact, he says, the number of post-matric gap year students on the programme has grown by 250 per cent since 2012.

The Jewish Agency also opened what is only their fourth Project TEN community outside of Israel in Durban last month. It has already issued a newsletter of its October activities and will be holding an official opening in February where the keynote speaker will be Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky.

Story continues below info-graphic


ABOVE: This infographic says it all - after a long period of declining figures, SA Jewry has started moving to Israel to live, study and spend a gap-year in droves

Sharansky announced recently that he will retire in June next year when his current term of office ends. He has chaired the agency since 2009.

Sochnut Israel CentreThe Israel Centres in Cape Town and Johannesburg are the Jewish Agency’s agents for the Na’ale Elite Academy, which offers free high school tuition and boarding in Israel, starting with English tuition. Five students started in September and another crop of between eight and 17 are starting in January.

The latter was a special arrangement made by the Israel Centre, as the programme only takes teens aged up to 16 and a half years, which would have precluded the 17 applicants starting next month. They will all start grade 10 in Israel.

“Masa, free schooling and private travel to Israel are likely to encourage many people to stay,” says Sela. “We (the Jewish Agency) see this as the ultimate way to attract olim.” Many South African visitors who don’t want to study further, says Aviad, also stay because they see so many job opportunities in Israel.

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1 Comment

  1. 1 ANT KATZ 08 Dec
    Errata: The author wished to apologise for a statistical error - Aviad Sela advises that between 4 and 6 new students are are starting at Na'ale in January. 


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