Helping South African Jews Depart “Rainbow Nation” for Promised Land

In March, the ICEJ helped seven South African Jews change their lives forever when they left the “Rainbow Nation” currently ruled by a government with a clear anti-Israel agenda and flew directly to the promised land on an ICEJ-sponsored Aliyah flight.

The group was filled with anticipation as they gathered in the Johannesburg departure hall and braced for the exciting next chapter in their lives, made possible thanks to the support of our Christian donors.

One Jewish family making Aliyah was Ariella and Kelly Strydom and their 10-month-old son, Wesley. They plan on settling in Herzliya, on Israel’s central coast.

ICEJ South Africa National Director Vivienne Myburgh flew to Israel on the same flight that day and was thrilled to meet the Strydom family and the other Jewish immigrants her branch was sponsoring. “It was a privilege to be on one of the last flights of El Al from South Africa, which was carrying a group of South African Jews making Aliyah, and even more so due to the fact that their flights were funded by local Christians through the ICEJ,” said Vivienne.

Before they departed, a Jewish Agency representative met Vivienne and the immigrant families at the airport and offered a traditional prayer for the occasion in Hebrew, which stated in part: “I thank the Almighty and merciful God that He gave me the opportunity to live in His Holy Land that gives me the privilege to be pure and Jewish. Thank You, Lord, that out of all of the tribes of the earth, this land was given to our people, and that out of all the lands of the earth, this one was chosen. As the Lord has chosen this ground and has wedded Himself to it, so shall we dedicate ourselves to this land.”

Jews first started arriving in South Africa from across Europe during the late seventeenth century. These pioneers established a thriving presence in their adopted land, contributing to its economic development and cultural richness. Today, the Jewish community numbers around 50,000 to 70,000 in South Africa, which is often referred to as the “Rainbow Nation” due to its diverse, multicultural society. But there has been an increase in Jews leaving the country for Israel and elsewhere over recent decades due to economic downturns and the high crime rates in the post-apartheid era.

In July 2021, 87 South African Jews moved to Israel on an Aliyah flight also sponsored by our ICEJ supporters in South Africa. Many had been planning to make Aliyah to Israel, but riots and ransacking of commercial centers caused some to speed up their plans. An emergency flight to bring them to Israel was scheduled, the largest Aliyah flight group from South Africa in over 25 years.

The most recent Aliyah flight from South Africa is the first of many expected over the coming months. The wave of antisemitism that has swept the globe since Israel’s war against Hamas started on October 7 has included South Africa, which has experienced an upswing in antisemitic rhetoric and incidents throughout the country spurred in part by the ANC-led government’s decision to charge Israel with genocide in the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

In November 2023, ICEJ South Africa organized a pro-Israel rally in Cape Town where 3,000 Christians were due to pray for Israel and the release of the Israeli hostages held in Gaza. However, the event had to be canceled due to a violent counterprotest by hundreds of pro-Palestinian supporters.

Faced with this sobering reality, many South African Jews have understandably been preparing for Aliyah. The Israeli government and the ICEJ stand ready to help them on this prophetic journey, providing support and resources to ease their transition.

You can be part of someone’s story. Support the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts today.