The aliya and absorption of Ethiopian Jewry has bumbled along because it has been in the hands of relatively few people.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Moment of truth
Sir, – The fate of nearly 5,000 Jews stranded in Ethiopia but whose names appear on Israeli government lists as seeking to make aliya is in jeopardy. Uri Perednik’s eloquent opinion piece (“A judgment day for Ethiopian Jewry,” Opinion, October 24) paints a vivid picture of their deplorable circumstances – torn between a struggle for survival and a dream of family reunification in their homeland.
The resolution rests in hands other than theirs. Ethiopian Jews have received promises of a timely resolution for years, yet they are forced to sit and wait. Do we really believe that a government-established committee could not resolve this crisis after so many months? It only takes will! Because the committee, which was to issue its report in July, has only responded with silence, people remain stranded with merely their dreams to provide comfort. More complex issues have been expediently solved by Israeli governments when there was a desire and commitment. Now, former interior minister Gideon Sa’ar, who could have shepherded a solution to the crisis, has vacated his office.
The piece refers to this period as “Sa’ar’s moment of truth,” but we abandon our responsibility when we call it this, for the time has come for it to be our moment of truth as well.
The aliya and absorption of Ethiopian Jewry has bumbled along because it has been in the hands of relatively few people.
Ministers come and go, often without continuity. In the scope of things, this is really not a complex issue – it can be readily solved with determination and funds.
It is time for the Israeli government, in partnership with world Jewry, to determine that the dreams of Ethiopian Jews to be reunited with their families in their homeland are fulfilled.
We have tolerated the intolerable for too long. This is our moment of truth.
The writer is a rabbi and president of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ).
How dare he!
Sir, – Regarding the phrase “... which would result in the sacrifice of 6 million Jews on the altar of an immoral English attitude of presumed self-preservation...”
(“Mandatory reading,” Books, October 17), how bloody well dare reviewer Yisrael Medad say this! Yes, Britain was anti-Semitic and made plenty of mistakes in administering the Mandate, but it was the country that saved Israel.
In 1939, Britain declared war on Germany although it had not been attacked, and within a very short time, stood alone with its dominion forces as effectively all of Europe fell under Nazi domination. It paid a heavy price for having the moral backbone to alone stand up to the Nazi tyranny, and put its own survival on the line.
It’s true that America provided material support to Britain, but that didn’t come cheap – America bled Britain dry, selling it arms, until forced to join in when Germany declared war against it at the end of 1941.
As I said above, yes, Britain was anti-Semitic, but no more than the rest of the world, America included. Without the British, Palestine would have been overrun and destroyed, and there would have been no Jews left alive in Europe, Asia or Africa.
So all those who decry Britain’s role in the establishment of Israel ought to keep their mouths firmly shut, and say thank you to God for Britain.
Sir, – The enthusiastic book review of my latest work, Palestine in Turmoil: The Struggle for Sovereignty, 1933-1939, requires one important correction. It consists of two volumes. The first, “Prelude to Revolt,” focuses on the years 1933-1936; the second, “Retreat from the Mandate,” focuses on 1937-1939.
Each volume costs $39 in the paperback edition.
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