The number of South African immigrants to Israel has nearly doubled in the past year, the Jewish Agency said.
According to agency data released this week, 300 South African Jews are expected to have made aliyah by the end of 2008, compared to 178 last year.
“This is partially due to the current political situation in South Africa and the rise in crime and violence,” said
Michael Jankelowitz, a Jewish Agency spokesman.
Political analysts believe that recent upheavals in Zimbabwe, which like South Africa emerged from white rule but remains unstable, have contributed to Jewish emigration.
The Jewish community of South Africa is a close-knit, Zionist community numbering approximately 65,000. After the fall of apartheid in the 1990s, upheaval in the community led to the emigration of many of its members to Australia, the United States, Britain and Israel.
Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States instituted a stricter immigrant policy and Israel became the No. 2 destination of Jews from South Africa behind Australia.