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‘There’s no future for me here’: Why Jews are fleeing South Africa for Israel

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Published: 6 September 2021

Last updated: 4 March 2024

JUDY MALTZ: 500 Jews are set to make aliyah in 2021, the most in a single year since the fall of apartheid. Immigrants and experts explain the reasons for the exodus

UNTIL VERY RECENTLY, Eidan Ederi had never given serious thought to moving to Israel. Besides having a sister in the country, who immigrated seven years ago and had been urging him to join her ever since, he saw no reason to leave his comfortable life in Johannesburg.

Explaining his change of heart, the 23-year-old says: “For a white Jewish man like me, finding a job is not an easy task these days. All around me, I see young, accomplished people struggling, and I finally came to the conclusion that there’s not much of a future for me in South Africa.”

Just over a week ago, Ederi, a graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand with a degree in commerce, bade farewell to his parents and boarded a flight to Tel Aviv. He was one of several dozen new immigrants from South Africa on board.

Although Zionism was not a “motivating factor” in his decision, Ederi, who grew up in a Reform home, says he always knew he “would have a support system here that would provide for a softer landing.”

Philip and Michele Stodel, both in their mid-sixties, hadn’t planned on making aliyah either. “It was never something we aspired to, nor was it on our bucket list,” Philip says. But a combination of factors forced them to reconsider in recent years, including having a daughter who had already moved to Israel.

FULL STORY ‘It’s time to get out’: Why Jews are fleeing South Africa for Israel (Haaretz)

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