The Right Road
Gad-Harf and Borman are continuing
JCCouncil programs and promoting Israel.
LIFE IN ISRAEL
Travelers in the territories
take precautions on the roads.
BEHIND THE HEADLINES
American Jewish organizations worr y
about the new Orthodox clout in Israel.
After The Fad
Why Are The Most Distressed
Jews In The World Ignored?
DR. GRAENUM BERGER and
SUSAN POLLACK SCHECHTMAN
ittle more than three years ago,
Ethiopian Jews were front-page
news in the international press,
adopted openly by Israel and the global
Jewish communtiy. The public was riveted
by the dramatic airlifts from Sudan to
Today, few people realize that 10,000
Ethiopian Jews were left behind — some to
be imprisoned, some to die, all to be severe-
ly affected by recurring cycles of hunger,
persecution and civil war in northwestern
During the months of November
1984-January 1985 and in March 1985,
plane loads of Ethiopian Jews — 8,000 in-
dividuals — departed Sudanese refugee
camps for a safe haven in Israel.
In the euphoria following the airlifts
and the field day by the press publicizing
the newest aliyah, the fact that several
thousand Ethiopian Jews were missing was
The new immigrants, weak in health,
numbers and political savvy, did not know
in 1985 how to press for those left behind
to be rescued. The Sudanese government
was overthrown in the spring of 1985 and
the airlifts were never resumed.
When the dust had settled, those left
behind startled Israel and world Jewish
organizations with the news: There are still
10,000 Jews impatiently waiting and suf-
fering in Ethiopia.
The Operation Moses airlift story
stimulated social studies, histories,
Graenum Berger and Susan Pollack
Schechtman are board members of the
American Association for Ethiopian Jews.
Variations may come and go,
but aerobics will remain on the sce
dramas, oral documents, novel s and
But since 1985, the story of those still
in Ethiopia gets little attention. Israel and
the Jewish world seem to be overwhelmed
with other interests and agonies.
It is not commonly known, but Ethio-
pian Jews estimate that 7,500 of their
numbers have died in Ethiopia and Sudan
since 1974. Furthermore, few members of
the general Jewish public realize that near-
ly every Ethiopian Jew in Israel has a first-
degree relative remaining in Ethiopia long-
ing to be rejoined with his family.
Ethiopia's economy is an unrelieved
disaster. Whether political or due to nature,
Ethiopia persists in having one of the
lowest per capita incomes, lowest life
longevity, one of the highest illiteracy rates
and amongst the poorest medical facilities
in the world.
For Jews, physical survival is com-
pounded by ethnic survival.
The Marxist military government pro-
hibits the teaching of Hebrew, restrcits
religious services, limits access to Jewish
villages by foreigners and forbids emigra-
tion. The government is widely reported to
be transplanting hundreds of thousands of-
natives, in "revillagization projects?'
Ethiopian Jewish villages, which
struggled for centuries to maintain ex-
istence and independence, are threatened
with total destruction. Young men are for-
cibly drafted into the army, almost never
to return to their families.
There are few Kohanim left in
Ethiopia, and no one is being trained to
take on this leadership.
The primary custodians and teachers of
Jewish traditions are forever lost. The pe-
ple have been left with no chance of sus-
Continued on Page 10
Ethiopian Jews sit down for their first meal in Israel: After Operation Moses, a plight forgotten.
Beth Yehudah Schools are providin g
quality education despite financial vvoes.
Alicia: My Story
A Book Fair speaker describes
her ordeal during the Holocaust.
take it easy
November 11, 1988 4:57 p.m.
Sabbath ends Nov. 12: 6:01 p.m.
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS 7