Thursday, March 29, 2007

Millennium Challenge Series#21: Depleting the Living Jewish heritage from Ethiopia, can it be stopped or encouraged?

Re: Depleting the Living Jewish Heritage from Ethiopia, can it be stopped or encouraged! Maybe the whole Jewish State should emigrate to Ethiopia?

Millennium Challenge Series #21: Ethiopia has been replenishing the Jewish State with new set of talent and genetic pool from the Original Jewry.

The Bete-Israel and their cousins the Falash Mura otherwise known the Solomonawians have been immigrating in mass to Israel under Operation Sheba, Operation Solomon and Operation Moses and Most recently as Operation Millennium.

The question remains, would it not be better to settle the Jews from Israel to Gondar to ensure that they have access to plenty of land, the Nile and most importantly the real African Jerusalem and the Garden of Eden home to Ghion River or the Blue Nile?

What should be the future of these original Jews not polluted by Ashkenazi’s and Sephardim who have been absorbed by gentile Europeans and Arabs respectively.

What happens to pure Judaism, once it is lost in secular Israel is the other question many Ethiopians and real Ethiopian Jews pose.

The bleeding of the true Jews into secular and gentile Israel continues depleting the most divine human resource from Ethiopia.

When should Ethiopia say, my people are my most important asset and I will protect them from this unnecessary genocide of a way of life that will never be protected once you enter secular and gentile Israel where faith disappears with each rocket from Palestine and Lebanon.

Time will tell!

WITNESS - Carried back in time with Ethiopia's Jews

By Reuters
Thursday March 29, 09:50 AM
By Elana Ringler

GONDAR, Ethiopia (Reuters) - The dusty compound where Ethiopian Jews await word on whether they can emigrate to Israel could not be more different from the world I left behind when I took the same path more than 20 years ago.

The only familiar sight here, among the mud huts and tin roofs, is the smile on the face of Maskaram Achanif as she helps her mother prepare a basic evening meal.
She reminds me of Batya, my first friend when I moved to Israel from the suburban comforts of Maryland in the United States as a 9-year-old girl in 1986.

Batya ran to greet me as we walked up to the "absorption centre" in Mevasseret Zion, west of Jerusalem, where many Jews making "aliyah" -- the Hebrew word for "ascent" or immigration to Israel -- get the first taste of their new home.

Batya had arrived at the centre in 1984 as part of Operation Moses, when 8,000 Jews from Ethiopia, known as the Beta Israel (House of Israel), were secretly flown to Israel via Sudan to escape famine, war and discrimination.

More than 14,000 more were brought to Israel in Operation Solomon in 1991.
I had arrived with my parents and two elder brothers and saw the whole trip as a big adventure, prompted by my father's firm belief that Israel was where Jews should live.

Despite our different backgrounds, Batya and I would chat happily in our native English and Amharic and try out the Hebrew language that was new to both of us.

After three months, my family moved out and we lost touch.

I have often wondered what became of Batya and whether her life in Israel has been full of the hardships and poverty that have plagued so many in the immigrant Ethiopian community.
I have also wondered where she came from. Standing here in the heat and the dust of the immigration centre at Gondar, 420 km north of Addis Ababa in the Ethiopian highlands, I began to understand.


Unlike the Jews airlifted out in Operations Moses and Solomon, those now waiting to leave are believed to be descendants of Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity, sometimes under duress, in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Known as Falasha Mura, the community began to return to the practice of Judaism in the last decade.

Their immigration to Israel has been clouded by controversy over their heritage and whether they meet the religious criteria that would allow them automatic citizenship.

Thousands have already made the trip but thousands more wait their turn. Some families have been stuck in the crowded camp for years.

A recent push by Israeli authorities has speeded up the process. Over the past few months about 300 Falasha Mura each month have been boarding the long-awaited flight to Tel Aviv.
Israel says that by the end of 2008 all those who are eligible will have emigrated.

Maskaram and her family have been at Gondar for seven years and only recently received assurances they would soon be joining relatives already in Israel.

Maskaram can already picture her new life in Israel -- and she says she can't wait.
"I need a clean house and a good school. This is what will make me happy," she tells me. She already has her future mapped out as a doctor.

For now, Maskaram has to be content with two meals a day, mostly rice and mashed vegetables, provided by the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry.

The Conference, a non-profit organization, sponsors a synagogue, clinics, an elementary school and a community centre where Maskaram and her parents study Hebrew and Jewish traditions in preparation for their new life.

Watching Maskaram go through her studies, I remembered my horror when I learned I would have to share a bedroom with my brothers at the absorption centre.

Solid concrete buildings, glass windows, a bed and running water were not the stuff of my childish dreams of adventure in moving to a new country.

But for Maskaram, the dream cannot come true soon enough.
I just hope I can be at the absorption centre to greet her when she finally arrives.

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