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The SA rainbow seems to have lost some of its colour




“People certainly take themselves to Israel because they feel Israel is the safest place in the world for a Jew, for his mind, body and spiritually. That’s where he is fulfilled,” Cape Town immigration lawyer Gary Eisenberg told SA Jewish Report.

“Those people who go to Israel, probably do so for reasons relating to their Zionist dispositions,” he said.

A report on emigration earlier this month indicated that Israel was low down among the preferred destinations for South Africans with a net worth of $1 million or more, at four per cent, far behind countries such as the United Kingdom (36 per cent), Australia (15 per cent) and the US (11 per cent).

Two wealthy former South African businessmen who now live in Israel and spoke to SA Jewish Report on condition of anonymity, explained their main reasons for going to Israel.

One said he had felt a close tie to the country since going there as a volunteer after the Six Day War and had been back there often since. He went there because of the attraction of the country to him as a Jew.

Both were involved in philanthropic work in Israel.

“If we don’t help ourselves, who will?” asked the one.

This was reinforced by the other: “We are involved philanthropically. If we don’t make a difference for ourselves being Jewish, nobody is going to do it for us. Different people can do big or small things and it takes a lot of people to do a lot.”

Leon Isaacson, managing director of Global Migration SA, said: “Broadly speaking, for Jews there is always a positive pull (to Israel), as opposed to any other country, that you don’t find with any other migration.”

Both Eisenberg and Isaacson pointed out that emigration was complex, including issues relating to family, investments and South Africa itself.

Eisenberg said that in general people were leaving South Africa for three main reasons:

  • They did not feel they were physically safe in South Africa;
  • They felt the government itself was unable to govern properly and South Africa was becoming a failed state, full of corruption, leading to the devaluation of their net worth;
  • For their children, they felt the quality of education was declining rapidly and the labour market was closing to inhabitants of European origin, with fewer opportunities for university graduates in the labour market.

Isaacson added that he had seen increasing numbers of people over the past two years looking to emigrate.

One of the businessmen in Israel that Jewish Report spoke to said he understood this. “It’s common cause that as beautiful and fantastic as South Africa is and as beautiful as the people are, corruption and fraud lead to a higher level of unhappiness

“It is so sad. We need positive growth and positiveness. In Mandela’s time there was an incredible feeling, a huge positive feeling and goodwill.

“Which board is now going to make the decision to invest in a plant with a 20-year horizon?”  

The poor were suffering most today, he said.

The other said that looking at the negatives, more people were now telling him “well done” than before, that he had planned correctly.

He added that in South Africa many were economic prisoners because of the exchange rate.

Isaacson also pointed to a move in the opposite direction. “Another thing we are seeing is quite a few Israeli firms looking to expand in Africa using South Africa as a base. We help with work permits and visas.” 


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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. nat cheiman

    Apr 3, 2016 at 11:56 am

    ‘The real problem is theft/ fraud corruption etc by government. Also, many in government and ANC are racists. ‘

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