Download From Tragedy to Triumph: The Politics Behind the Rescue of by Mitchell G. Bard PDF

By Mitchell G. Bard

From 1984 to 1991, Israel carried out a sequence of dramatic rescues, bringing millions of Ethiopian Jews to the nation of Israel. Codenamed Operation Sheba, this attempt concerned a number of covert capacity, together with large-scale airlifts and exchanges for fingers, to save lots of those Jews from insupportable stipulations in Ethiopia and the Sudan. yet as dramatic and uplifting as this attempt was once, there are nonetheless troubling questions on why it took such a lot of years for Israel to behave on behalf its African compatriots. this can be the total tale at the back of the Israeli rescue of the Jews of Ethiopia―how tragedy was once changed into triumph.

These rescue operations represented the fruits of advanced political maneuvering in Israel and illustrated what Israeli unravel can accomplish whilst Jewish lives are endangered. It was once an inspiring effort―as William Safire wrote on the time, hundreds of thousands of black everyone is being delivered to a rustic no longer as slaves, yet as electorate. nevertheless, there's a lot to deplore how lengthy it took for the leaders of Israel to acknowledge and take motion to save lots of this old African department of the Jewish Diaspora, referred to as the Falasha. the explanations are the results of the advanced intersection of Israeli geostrategy, strain from the yank Jewish neighborhood, and Ethiopian household politics, in addition to racism and debates concerning the Jewishness of the Falasha community.

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Extra info for From Tragedy to Triumph: The Politics Behind the Rescue of Ethiopian Jewry

Example text

Israel’s overall influence was much greater than the amount of trade and aid might indicate, however, according to a State Department official who 32 FROM TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH was stationed in Ethiopia from 1969 to 1972. This is how he described the Israeli presence: They were all over the place. They were probably more influential than the United States was in Ethiopia during the time I was there. If you really wanted to get to the Ethiopian government, you went through the Israelis, not the Americans.

In 1864, one of Europe’s most prominent theologians, Rabbi Azriel Hildesheimer of Germany recognized the Beta Israel as Jews. Other rabbis expressed similar views. After the establishment of Israel, officials were 20 FROM TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH unwilling to formally recognize the Beta Israel as Jews who were eligible for automatic citizenship under the state’s Law of Return. Though the old opinions were on the record, it took a quarter of a century before any official recognition would be given to the Ethiopian Jews.

Mordechai Artzi’eli, “The Falashas: A Dying Community, The Weakness of Israel,” Ha’aretz (December 17, 1982). 44. Rapoport, The Lost Jews, pp. 194–195. 45. Hezi Ovadia, interview with author. 46. Rapoport, The Lost Jews, p. 189. 47. General Ephraim Poran, interview with author; Yehuda Dominitz, interview; Haggai Erlich, interview with author; and Aynor, interview. 48. ” Women’s American ORT Reporter (May–June 1975), 2. 49. Jerusalem Post (August 1977). CHAPTER 2 The Big Picture: Ethiopia in Israel’s Foreign Policy W hen Golda Meir said, “There is no Zionism except the rescue of Jews,”1 the Holocaust was in progress and there was no state of Israel.

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