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January 01, 1988 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-01-01

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

I NEWS 1

NIBBLES & NUTS

If you are not wearing it . . . sell it!

Ethiopians

Continued from Page 1

years." The crop, planted as
part of JDC's agricultural
recovery project, was
diminished by rain and hail.
Nevertheless, said
Cooperstock, who accom-
panied the interfaith trip to
Ethiopia, "I am optimistic
about Gondar, but very con-
cerned about Ethiopia!'
For Ethiopian Jews in Gon-
dar and Israel, the fear of
starvation is compounded by
anguish at separation from
family members. In addition,
say Ethiopian Jewry activists
in this country, the resump-
tion of forced resettlement
could destroy the fragile
social fabric of the Jewish
community.
The activists say that
almost every Ethiopian Jew
who immigrated to Israel dur-
ing the Operation Moses
airlift in 1985 left behind a
first-degree relative.
Between November 1984
and March 1985, 8,000 Ethio-
pian Jews were flown to Israel
from neighboring Sudan.
Because of the unreliability of
an Ethiopian census taken in
1976 and the perceived reluc-
tance of Jews to come for-
ward, estimates of the
numbers of remaining Jews
range from 10,000 to 20,000.
"Their separation is painful
for them at all times!" said
Barbara Ribakove Gordon,
director of the North
American Conference on
Ethiopian Jewry. "But when
they see the photoraphs again
(of starving people), the
anguish is great:' And accor-
ding to Will Recant, executive
director of the American
Association for Ethiopian
Jews, the family members left
behind because they couldn't
attempt the physically gruel-
ing exodus to Israel were all
too often women, children and
the infirm — those least like-
ly to weather the effects of
famine.
international
Despite
pressure, Mengistu Haile
Mariam, president of
Ethiopia, has resumed a
resettlement program that in-
cludes the movement of peo-
ple short distances from their
farms and scattered dwellings
to government-selected
village sites. The United
States and other donors object
to the forced nature of the pro-
gram, according to a
spokesman for the U.S. Agen-
cy for International Develop-
ment (AID).
"The Ethiopian Jews have
great fear of `villagization',"
said Recant. "Moving the
members of a village miles
away totally destroys their
sense of community and
separateness?'
In anticipation of famine
and resettlement, some

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

r

19

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