SA Organisations

New Fed exec building bridges of co-operation

  • SaksSwazilandpic1
Newly-elected national chairman of the SA Zionist Federation, Ben Swartz, told Jewish Report in an interview on Sunday that things were changing fast at the Fed. “We have a much younger and very dynamic executive,” he said about the new national executive committee that was elected earlier this month. Swartz was speaking at a Likud-SA celebration of Israel's election results. Read about his plans for the SAZF going forward...
by ANT KATZ | Mar 31, 2015

Newly-elected national chairman of the SA Zionist Federation, Ben Swartz, told Jewish Report in an interview on Sunday that things were changing fast at the Fed.

“We have a much younger and very dynamic executive,” said Swartz about the new national executive committee that was elected earlier this month.

Likudmeet 2015 Ben

RIGHT: Swartz, centre, with Likud-SA's Gauteng Chairman Mike Fisher, left, and National Chairman Leon Reich

“That”, said Ben “is the key driver in allowing us to make the Fed more relevant.” With older guard largely having stood aside for a younger team, he said, had allowed the executive to immediately institute “a number of initiatives and projects”, which are already up and running under the leadership of dynamic younger people and Israel supporters of other faiths, he told Jewish Report.

 Swartz had served as a vice chairman for four years under long-standing chairman Avrom Krengel – who has remained on the national executive as president.

“There are dynamics in our community that are changing things big time,” said Ben.  The new executive, he said, would be employing all the new ways of looking at supporting Israel.

He referred to the initiatives he had introduced with huge success over the past four years, such as having befriended hundreds of thousands (if not millions) in other-faith communities and becoming extremely proactive in all forms of social media .

Said the Israel Centre Shaliach, Aviad Sela: “Ben is the right man, at the right time!”

Spoke at Likud celebration

Swartz was the main speaker at a Sunday morning celebration by Likud-SA - after the party’s success in the recent Israeli election.

After extending warm wishes to a packed Likud audience, Ben said he had been in Israel at the time of the election. He said being at the voting station had really brought home to him how democratic Israel really was. “You see Muslims, Jews and Christians voting; whites, blacks and Indians.”

He congratulated Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party saying: “A week before, the polls gave Likud 20 seats, the day before they said 24, yet, on the day, they won 30 seats.”

Speaking on Likud-SA national chairman Leon Reich, Swartz said: “I have come to know Leon and his associates over the last four years. They do good work. And, what is most important is that they take action!"

Swartz said the Fed would in future also become more action-orientated. The Fed does a great deal of work which people don’t realise, he said. He sees the SAZF primarily as being about “a federation of alliances and partners”.

Primary goals

Swartz laid out his primary goals for the Fed going forward:

  • Strengthening the Zionist culture in SA – working with organisations like Likud, the Israel Centre and all other members and affiliates;
  • Having made incredible friends over the years both inside and outside the Jewish Community, the Fed would now partner with them in new initiatives aimed at promoting Israel;
  • Transforming Zionist organisations. Ben singled out Magen David Adom South Africa’s chair, Mark Hyman, now a Fed vice-chair. “Mark has transformed MDA over the past few years” and been involved in the launch of several other organisations, said Ben, giving an example of how he sees the Fed going forward; and
  • To strengthen the relationship of SA Jewry with Israel and vice versa.

Until 2011 the Jewish community had in many respects been working in isolation, said Ben. “Now we are breaking down those insular walls and making friend with people outside. Initially, we weren’t sure if anyone wanted to be our friends. We have found that there are a lot of people who love Israel, and we have built on those relationships.”

Swartz said the Fed have been “moving out of the shtetl-mentality through partnerships and relationships to the mutual benefit of SA and Israel.”

To Likud, Ben said: “You need to work out how to get young people into the organisation – if you don’t get the younger Jews in you won’t be sustainable.” He congratulated Reich on his initiative in brining Betar back to South Africa and on the youth movement’s rapid growth. “Don’t stop!”, he said.

“The world is our oyster, there is so much Israel, through the Fed, can do to help South Africa.”

More from the event next week

1 Comment

  1. 1 David Abel 01 Apr
    We in LikudSA Cape heartily endorse and enthusiastically support new SAZF Chairman Ben Swartz's 4 primary goals as spelt out at the LikudSA victory celebration in JHB, and we pledge our full co-operation, in particular, with his concept of the SAZF as a "Federation of alliances and partners".
    In Cape Town, we have been walking along that path with significantly positive results. Together, in unity, SA Zionism - through practical projects on the ground - can access the potential 15 million South Africans who will stand with Israel. 



  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
    Toolbar's wrapper 
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.


My Place advert 300px x 300px 110820




Yad Aharon GENERIC2020


Follow us on