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March 29, 1985 - Image 62

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-03-29

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Friday, March 29, 1985



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Cranston, Senate Pushed
For Ethiopian Airlift

New York (JTA) — Sen. Alan
Cranston (D-Calif.) said this week
that he believes that all Ethiopian
Jews previously stranded in the
Sudan when Israel was forced to
halt its rescue operation in
January are now out of that coun-
try following last week's secret
airlift of Ethiopian Jews, con-
ducted by the United States.
Cranston also disclosed details
of his efforts last month which led
to all 100 members of the Senate
signing a letter to President Re-
agan urging that the Administra-
tion seek permission from the
Sudanese President Gaafer al-
Nimeiry "for the immediate re-
sumption of the airlift."
The letter, dated Feb. 21, noted
Nimeiry's earlier comments in a
New York Times interview in
which he stated that the "Ethio-
pian Jews and all other refugees
now living in the Sudanese camps
were free to leave the country
provided they did not go directly
to Israel."
According to Cranston, the
Administration's response to the
letter was very positive. "We re-
ceived a telephone call from
President Reagan saying he
shared the concern of the Senators
on the deteriorating situation in
the refugee camps, and later Vice
President George Bush indicated
his concern for the Ethiopian
Cranston said he was particu-
larly seeking to draw the atten-
tion of Bush to the issue since
Bush was scheduled to visit the
Sudan in early March. "I figured
that this was the time for a break-
through," Cranston told the
Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
It has been reported in several
leading newspapers that Bush
successfully laid the groundwork
for last week's airlift when he met
with Nimeiry in Khartoum on
March 6. The rescue mission is re-
ported to have been conducted by
the Central Intelligence Agency,
along with the aid of the State De-
partment and the U.S. Air Force.

The letter from the Senate
noted that premature disclosure
of the Israeli-sponsored airlift
forced a halt in the operation. But
it said that it had left a large
number of Ethiopian Jews
stranded in Sudan.

Alan Cranston:
Pushed the airlift.

"Tragically the survival of
these people is in jeopardy and
they are at special risk," the letter
said. "Afraid of being identified as
Jews in a Moslem country, these
refugees in particular have been
afraid to seek food or medical aid
from international relief agen-
cies. This explains the devastat-
ingly high mortality rate among
Ethiopian Jews. Over 2,000 have
died in recent months and more
are dying daily . . ."
Cranston described as "un-
precedented" the quick and swift
support his colleagues exhibited
when asked about signing the let-
ter to the President. He added
that he viewed it as "quite re-
markable" that all members of
the Senate had knowledge of the
letter and that it was kept a secret
until this week.
He said publicity about the let-
ter or the Administration's under-
taking could have • hindered any
effort to aid Ethiopian Jews in the
Sudan. He said Sen. Alphonse
D'Amato (R-N.Y.) also worked
behind the scenes to gain support
of the Senate.
Cranston said, `Not a single one
hesitated in terms of signing" the
letter, adding that there was a
genuine eagerness on behalf of
the Senate to join in the effort.
"This shows the Senate can keep a
secret," Cranston said.
Cranston said he has been in
contact with officials of the
American Association for Ethio-
pian Jewry that provided him
with updates and information re-
garding the situation of Ethiopian
Jewry. .


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Tel Aviv (JTA) — Two recently
arrived immigrants from the
Soviet Union have urged Israel
Radio, which can be heard in Mos-
cow, to broadcast news about job
opportuhities because Jewish ac-
tivists in the USSR are worried
about reports of rising unem-
ployment in Israel.
Michael Rapaport and
Konstantin Golesko, both in their
20s and married, arrived in Israel
less than a month ago. At a meet-
ing this week with Absorption
Minister Yaacov Tsur, they said
that despite jamming, Israel
Radio should report job openings
and describe in what fields, espe-
cially high technology, vacancies
They reported that the Soviet

authorities have begun jamming
Israel Radio newscasts. Until
now, the Russians only interfered
with feature programs. Rapaport
and Golesko, who had been teach-
ing Hebrew in Moscow for several
years — a proscribed activity in
the Soviet Union — said the jam-
ming was probably another
measure to prevent the study of
They believe they were granted
exit visas because the authorities
wanted their • flats in Moscow
where housing, always in short
supply, is in greater demand than
ever because of the crowds ex-
pected to come to the capital for
the celebration of the 40th an-
niversary of the defeat of Nazi
Germany in May.

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