Community in Lesotho - World Jewish Congress

Only a handful of about six Jews belong to the Lesotho Jewish Community, which is affiliated with the World Jewish Congress.

WJC Affiliate
Lesotho Jewish Community

Email: or
+266 22 314 264
+266 58 469 806

President: Yehuda Danziger

The Jewish presence in Lesotho can be traced back to the Second Boer War of 1864–1865, when German Jewish immigrant Moritz Leviseur fought for the Free State forces invading the country. Throughout Lesotho’s colonial period, several small European Jewish communities developed around British-ruled Southern Africa in territories that included Lesotho (then Basutoland), Namibia (then South West Africa), Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia), and Swaziland. In that regard, some of the history of Lesotho’s Jewish community mirrors that of South Africa’s.


Jewish life in Lesotho is entirely concentrated in the capital city of Maseru. A small flow of Jewish immigration from Europe prior to the Second World War led to an increase in Lesotho’s Jewish population, but today there are very few permanent Jewish residents there, although a handful of expatriate Jews have lived in Lesotho on a temporary basis, usually for business purposes. Despite the small size of the Jewish community in Lesotho, they were able to send a delegate to the Commonwealth Jewish Congress conference in London in 1999.

Religious and Community Life

The Lesotho Jewish Community is affiliated with the African Jewish Congress, which is based in South Africa and advocates on behalf of the small and scattered communities of sub-Saharan Africa. It works to ensure that the Lesotho Jewish Community has international representation, including within the WJC, despite the small size of its population. There is now neither a practicing Jewish community nor any religious institutions in Lesotho due to the community's relatively modest size. Renowned "traveling rabbi" Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft serves the Jewish community in Lesotho as well as smaller communities around Southern Africa.

Jewish Education

Lesotho lacks Jewish schools; hence, it is up to the individual members of the community to provide Jewish education.

Relations with Israel

Israel and Lesotho maintain full diplomatic relations, with Lesotho, along with Malawi and Swaziland, being the only Sub-Saharan countries not to sever ties with Israel in the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Diplomatic representation for Lesotho is fulfilled through Israel’s Embassy in South Africa Embassy.

Israel Embassy
428 King’s Highway
(Corner Elizabeth Grove)
Lynwood, Pretoria 0081
South Africa

Telephone: 012 470 3500
Fax: +27(0)12 448 5518

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