Record number of Jews make aliyah from SA

Dr Hymie Ehrlich, 91 (front), and Danelle and Paul Datnow and their sons, Benjamin and Jacob at Cape Town International Airport yesterday before they boarded a flight on the first leg of their journey to make aliyah to Israel

A total of 87 South African members of the Jewish community boarded planes to make aliyah to Israel yesterday. This is a record number of Jews to make aliyah in one day from South  Africa since 1994!

A group of 10 South Africans made aliyah earlier this year, during the Aliyah Super Week in May and Christians have paid for the flights of these 97 South African olim (Jewish immigrants) as part of the ICEJ aliyah flights programme in 2021.

Ten of those who left yesterday were from the greater Cape Town area and included 91 year old Dr Hymie Ehrlich. I chatted to him just before he boarded his flight to join his son and family, who made aliyah 33 years ago and his daughter who arrived in Israel four months ago. He says he has visited Israel about 40 times throughout his life and says that “it has always been a dream” to go and live here. He was born in the District Six hospital in 1930 and practiced as a doctor until 2020, when at almost 90 years of age he was “instructed” to retire due to the risks associated with the Covid pandemic.

Danelle and Paul Datnow and their two sons, Benjamin and Jacob were also on the flight. They had gone to Israel on a holiday in 2017 and Danelle says that she and her husband fell in love with Israel. After talking about making aliyah for three years they started the process a few months ago during the lockdown period. They plan to live in Raanana, a beautiful suburb north of Tel Aviv which is popular with South African Jews and where a quarter of the population is made up of immigrant families.     

A family at OR Tambo International Airport yesterday display their gratitude to the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and the Jewish Agency for assistance with making aliyah to Israel

The Cape Town group met up with the other 77 (who had landed a few hours before from Johannesburg), in Addis Ababa, before they continued on to Israel where they landed  at 4am, at Ben Gurion airport. From there they headed into a quarantine of eight days.

Israel offers many programmes for the new immigrants such as Hebrew language courses and help with all the administration of settling into a new life in a new land.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is extremely blessed to be able to respond with financial help for flights when requested to and funded all 87 of these Jewish immigrants’ flights from South Africa. We envisage that there will be a number of others from SA who will also be making aliyah in the months ahead.

The call of God to bring the Jews home and the situation on the ground, which is deteriorating for many of them, on a number of levels, is causing many Jewish people to consider that it might be time to return to their ancient homeland sooner rather than later.

The big group from South Africa arrives in Israel this morning

Planning is underway for another big group — and it is hoped that a group of the Bnei Menashe from India will also arrive later this year.

This is clearly God’s plan for them — as the prophet Ezekiel wrote all those many years ago:

 “Therefore you are to say, ‘This is what the Lord God says, “Although I’ve removed them far away to live among the nations, and although I’ve scattered them throughout the earth, yet I’ve continued to be their sanctuary, even for the short time that they will be living in the lands to which they’ve gone.”’

“Therefore you are to say, ‘This is what the Lord God says, “I’m going to gather you from among the nations, assembling you from the lands among which you have been dispersed. I’ll give you the land of Israel.” — Ezekiel 11: 16-17

If anyone would still like to contribute towards these or other flights they can contact Vivienne Myburgh at

Statistics on aliyah from South Africa since 2008

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  1. Sonia Odendaal

    God works in mysterious ways sometimes and it could very well be that he is using the pandemic for the purpose of sending Jewish people to make aliyah who maybe otherwise would not have done so. Israel needs every Jew today and the prayers of Christians more than ever!

  2. Wonderful news. May each SA person returning home. Settle in quickly and be a BLESSING in their land.
    We pray too that you may find your Messiah there too !