The memorial site was originally constructed in 1986 in the heart of a forest dedicated to the friendship between South Africa and Israel. The current project involved restoring the remarkable stone monument and memorial wall, with the updated names of the fallen.
“Behind every name on the memorial wall is the life story of someone who fell, and a family that grieves,” said Dave Bloom, Telfed Chairman, at the ceremony. “The connection with KKL-JNF in Israel and in South Africa allows us to salute our sons and daughters. It is in their merit that we are able to realize the Zionist dream. We have come here not only to remember their sacrifices but also to celebrate their lives.”
During the War of Independence, more than 800 machal volunteers came to Israel from South Africa in order to take part in the war effort, a large number in proportion to the community's size. There are about 20,000 people living in Israel today who emigrated from South Africa, and there are about 80,000 Jews still living in South Africa. “It is important for us to foster and preserve the connection between the members of our communities,” said Bloom. “We have a shared history and culture, and it is our hope that the younger generation will safeguard their roots and know their past.”
Sidney Shapira, Telfed's CEO, considers the cooperation between KKL-JNF in Israel and in South Africa to be very important. Many joint projects have already been undertaken, the largest of which is the construction of a reservoir in the Negev. “Every mission to Israel from South Africa visits this memorial site, a contribution of our community towards the establishment of the State of Israel, its development and defense,” said Shapira. Read More at the KKl-JNF site