Get out of the way, Ethiopia

Roughly 18,000 Ethiopian Jews want to emigrate to Israel. Israel has said that they're willing to take them in, starting as early as next week.

The Ethiopian government is balking, saying that there's no need for massive airlifts, like occurred in 1984 and 1991.

The Jews who wish to depart are living in extreme poverty; but in Israel, they have a place to go. They can't afford to depart on their own, obviously, and I very much doubt that Israel is asking Ethiopia to defray the costs of the people's departure.

These people, called the Falasha Mura, have been persecuted and abused for centuries. They dream of returning to Zion, or Israel. In the 1980's and 1990's, in an effort to see the people peacefully brought into Israel, free from abuse they might receive from Islamic factions if they traveled on foot across the Sudan, Operations Moses and Solomon were organized, which brought all but roughly 18,000 of the Falashas to Israel.

Families were separated at that time. Children were orphaned by circumstance. These people can be reunited with their loved ones when the remaining emigres come to Israel. They'll face arduous process of integrating into an industrial society, but I perceive that they're strong. They can do it, and thrive among their Israeli brethren.

Given the region's history, and the fact that there is a thriving population of Muslims in that country, I intuit that Ethiopia's reticence may be based upon neither humanitarian or patriotic concerns.

Let Israel help the Falasha Mura go.

posted by Linda on January 8, 2004 07:16 PM