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Plight Of Ethiopian Jews

Plight Of Ethiopian Jews

Your Editorial, “Once More, Bring Ethiopian Jews Home” (Aug. 5), could not be more on point.
More than 25 years have elapsed since [the mass rescue mission] Operation Solomon. Yet the Jewish state continues to refuse to permit the 9,000 remaining refugees, who observe Shabbat, kashrut and other Jewish rituals, to make aliyah. Seventy percent of them have first-degree relatives in Israel.

Equally incomprehensible has been the disregard of a fellow diaspora community in distress by the major institutions of American Jewry. The 3,000 internally displaced refugees in Addis Ababa have not received help from JFNA (Jewish Federations of North America, including UJA-Federation of New York), the Jewish Agency or the Joint Distribution Committee since 2005. The Beta Israel [Ethiopian Jews] remaining in Gondar have not received any significant aid since 2013. There can no longer be any doubt that this community is entitled to assistance from the Jewish world.

The Israeli government unequivocally decided 10 months ago that the 9,000 internally displaced refugees were entitled to emigrate to Israel. Yet incomprehensibly, despite repeated requests, these institutions refuse to provide even minimal aid.

How in good conscience can we allow this to continue?

The writer, an attorney, is a former president of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry.

Editor’s Note: The Israeli government in recent days announced that it will bring 1,500 of the remaining Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

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