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August 13, 1993 - Image 74

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-08-13

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

JEWiSh NATIONAL FUNd

Photo by UJA Press/ Ric hard Lobell

PRESENTS

Max Sosin

Detroit's Best Loved Raconteur and Comedian

A young Ethiopian girl reunites with her parents in Israel.

On Stage

Ethiopian Group
Claims To Be Jews

Thursday, September 2, 1993
7:30 p.m.

Congregation B'nai David
24350 Southfield Road
Southfield, Michigan

Seating Limited
Casual Attire

Admission: $15.00
(includes planting one Tree in Israel)
Coffee Hour

Video services provided by:
Jeff Schoenberg of Video Protection

For reservations contact:

JEWISH

nAnaw

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Jewish National Fund
17100 W. Ten Mile Road
Southfield, Ml 48075
(313)557-6644

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WERE FIGHTING FOR
YOUR LIFE

kr

American Heart"
Association

Jerusalem (JTA) — A peti-
tion from a large group of E-
thiopians claiming Jewish
status and descent is causing
sharp concerns here that the
group's activities may strain
relations between Israel and
Ethiopia.
The group, known as the
Semite Nation of the Gihon,
comprises some 4 million E-
thiopians.
For now, the group is not
immediately proposing
aliyah. But it does want to
set up a headquarters in
Israel.
The Israeli ambassador to
Ethiopia, Haim Divon, voic-
ed fears in a cable to
Jerusalem that this episode
could seriously damage rela-
tions between the two coun-
tries.
His warning was
underscored by a reference
to recent events in Ethiopia,
when the government ex-
pelled a group of American
Jewish activists who were
working among the Falash
Mora. The Falash Mora are
Ethiopians whose ancestors
converted to Christianity
from Judaism and who wish
to go to Israel, many of them
to reunite with kin.
The American workers
were deported as alleged
"missionaries." The Israeli
Embassy and government
went to great lengths to
dissociate themselves from
the Americans' activities.
The Semite Nation of the
Gihon is a separate entity
from the Falash Mors.
Israel's policy is to allow a
small number of Falash
Mora to enter the country, as
immigrants or under family
reunification schemes, after
undergoing "back to
Judaism" courses while still
in Ethiopia.

Israel is not anxious to en-
courage the wholesale
aliyah of groups whose ties
to authentic Jewishness are
remote at best, artificial at
worst.
Leaders of the Semite
Nation of the Gihon sent
letters to both the Israeli
and Ethiopian governments
explaining their requests.
The letter to the president
of Ethiopia was signed by
Mussa Tagani, an an-
thropologist and sociologist
who claims to head the
organization, which is
centered north of the capital,
Addis Ababa.
In a separate letter to the
Prime Minister's Office in
Jerusalem, Mr. Tagani re-
quested the Israeli govern-
ment's consent for the group
to set up an office in Israel.
In an interview with the
Ha' aretz newspaper, Ambas-
sador Divon noted that be-
cause economic oppor-
tunities for Ethiopian olim
in Israel are so much better
than those for ordinary
working people in Ethiopia,
emigration to Israel has
become an attractive propo-
sition.
The envoy stressed the E-
thiopian government's sen-
sitivity over moves that can
upset the delicate ethnic and
religious balances in that
country.
Government officials here
are wary that activists in the
United States and Israel are
hoping to populate the West
Bank with immigrants from
Ethiopia and elsewhere who
have recently put forward
claims of Jewishness.
If implemented, this
strategy would succeed in
changing the demographic
balance between Arabs and
Jews in the territories. 0

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