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April 29, 1983 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-04-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

28

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, April 29, 1983

LARRY FREEDMAN

Israelis Visit the Falashas in Ethiopia

Orchestra and Entertainment

By MOSHE RON

The Jewish News Special
Israel Correspondent

647-2367

This group was joined by
the chairman of the Educa-

tional and Cultural Com-
mittee of the Knesset, Ora,
Namir, and Prof. Menashe
Harel and Dr. Abraham

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Falasha rabbi asked if there
is hope for the Falashas to
come to Israel.
When the group arrived
in Valekka, they found a
rabbi baking matzot. He
welcdmed Namir in He-
brew. The Falashas of Val-
ekka have an armed militia -
of youngsters to keep order.
Namir told us that the
present regime in
Ethiopia treats the
Falashas like all other
citizens, but their eco-
nomic and educational
situation was much bet-
ter under the former re-
gime. Some Falashas
maintained that help
from the world Jewish
organizations would
make their situation
easier.
The Israeli group was
very well received by the
Ethiopian authorities. They
allowed them to meet the
Falashas freely. The group
was always accompanied by
representatives of the
authorities. This might be
the reason why the
Falashas did not dare to
talk much, but always
asked not to be forgotten.
A delegation of Israeli
Falashas was received dur-
ing Passover by the
President of Israel Yitzhak
Navon. The delegation told
the president about the dif-
ficult situation of the Ethio-
pian Jews and asked him to
do the utmost to bring them
to Israel.

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Arbel from the Tel Aviv
University.
It was the first visit by Is-
raelis to Ethiopia in 12
years, after Ethiopia broke
off diplomatic relations
with Israel.
The plane arrived on
the eve of Passover in
Adis Ababa. The Israelis
were met by the director
of the Tourist Office with
flowers and a welcome in
Hebrew.
The group first visited the
Falasha villages of Am-
babar and Valekka. In Am-
babar they found 1,500
Falashas, in Valekka 200.
Near Ambabar there is a
modern health clinic and an
ambulance.
When the news of the ar-
rival of the group spread,
hundreds of Falashas came
with their children to the
synagogue, located in bar-
racks. The synagogue floor
is covered with straw. There
is a small Ark with two Holy
Scrolls, one in Hebrew and
one in Abyssinian. The
Falashas told the Israelis
that there were no Hebrew
lessons, no schools and no
other synagogues. In Val-
ekka, 10 Falashas recently
converted to Christianity.
The meeting with the
Falashas was touching.
They spoke little, out of
fear, but their eyes spoke.
• On the eve of Passover,
the group attended serv-
ices in the synagogue of
Adis Ababa, where they
met 15 Yemenite Jews
from Aden. Some of them
had relatives in Israel.
The Seder was held in the
Yemenite tradition. Some
representatives of inter-
national organizations
and the United Nations
Organization were in-
vited.
Ora Namir told us that
the inhabitants of Ambabar
were suffering from a dif-
ficult economic situation
owing to the ,drought in the
fields. Only the grown-ups
speak Hebrew. "The chil-
dren looked at us con-
stantly. They were happy to
receive presents from Israel
— Hagadot, Hebrew books
n easy Hebrew, pictures of
t he Western Wall, the Old
City of Jerusalem, the
Knesset, etc. They wept -
with joy."
The Israeli tourists
layed a soccer game
a gainst the Falashas. The

announces the availability

of its social hall for

meetings and small parties

for further information

call

Leonard Goldner 551-1629 or
Elias Green 551-9636

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