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Choose Your Camp: Save Ethiopian Jews

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The Israeli government’s decision today to allow only 3,000 Ethiopian Jews to make Alyah as part of a limited family reunification program, while leaving more than 11,000 of their brothers and sisters to face hunger, a raging civil war, and a disintegrating country, is another disappointing breach of the Law of Return.

While we must celebrate the 3,000 who may be able to leave under today’s decision and its budgetary allocation, that number falls short of prior commitments made by the Israeli government.

Compounding the abandonment of 11,000 Jews, the Israeli government’s action contemplates that the synagogues, Mikvahs, and schools that have served the Jews of Ethiopia will essentially shut down after those protected by today’s decision arrive. This will eradicate the meager institutional support and lifeline to Jewish practice for those left behind.

One cannot help wonder if the current events reflect (again) a decades-long, discriminatory Alyah policy that denies the return to Zion to Jews of color.

Sadly, for Moroccan Jews like me, the evidence that prejudice, conscious or not, taints the government’s action is reminiscent of the historical Sephardic immigrant experience in the early days of the State of Israel. I was born into the side of the family that left Morocco for France. The first generations of North African Jewish immigrants found in that country a terre d’accueil, a land of refuge, rife with opportunities for business, education, and social mobility. We produced doctors, lawyers,........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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