Text size

South African Israelis last week paid their final respects to a notable community leader, Leib Frank, who passed away last Friday at the age of 91.

Frank, who was born in Bloemfontein and raised in Johannesburg, had served as director of the South African Zionist Federation Telfed from 1962 - a year after he immigrated to Israel. He remained in office until 1979.

"Leib was a good Zionist who fought like a tiger for the rights of [immigrants]," said Telfed Director Sidney Shapiro. "Leib was very influential in my life because he's the person who hired me into Telfed 40 years ago, while I was still in ulpan," Shapiro added.

Frank's son, Gillam Keinan from Mevasseret Zion, said his father never went to study Hebrew at an enrichment course.

"He started working the day he came here," he said.

Near the time of his retirement, Leib Frank and his wife, Rachel ("Luffy") Frank, lost two of their four children - Ardon and David Frank. The couple also had a daughter, Liron Bar-Sadeh, a diplomat currently serving in Italy. Rachel Frank died in 1998. Her husband was buried alongside her in Kfar Shmaryahu.

After the deaths of his sons, "Leib devoted his life to his grandchildren," according to Shapiro.

"He was a man who had high expectations," Shapiro recalled. "He was such a devoted Zionist that he may have been partially disappointed with certain aspects of modern Israel, and turned inwards."