Ethiopian protesters gather outside Interior Minister Aryeh Deri’s home. (The Heart of Israel)
Activists, Ethiopians say it’s time to bring the last Jews of Ethiopia to Israel
Seffi Blilin moved to Israel from Ethiopia nine years ago with her mother, father and four siblings. Her two older, married siblings were considered separate families and could not come over on the same immigration visa.
“We were told it would be a week, maybe a month,” Blilin told Breaking Israel News. “But they never made it here. We have not seen my sisters for nine years. My father died of heartache. My mother cries herself to sleep every night.”
Blilin’s family is Jewish. Two of her younger siblings are serving in combat units in the IDF. But while she continues to pressure the Ministry of Interior to bring her siblings home, there has been little action. She said they tell her that there is not enough money in the budget.
“They are Jews and they should be allowed to make Aliyah,” Blilin said.
On Tuesday, more than 100 activists and family members of the remaining 8,000 Jews in Ethiopia gathered in front of the home of Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, begging him to act to bring these Jews to Israel. The activists are protesting weekly on Tuesdays until a June 18 meeting of the special ministerial committee on the issue of Aliyah from Ethiopia. The fate of the 8,000 remaining Ethiopian Jews waiting to make Aliyah to Israel could be decided at the meeting.
In 2015, Government Decision No. 716 was passed, which calls for the approval of the immigration of 8,000 Jews who are waiting to make Aliyah. However, the government has not implemented the decision.
According to A.Y. Katsof, the Jews of Ethiopia are living in extreme poverty. Katsof is the director of The Heart of Israel, which is running a crowdfunding campaign to bring these Jews back to Israel and resettle them in the Biblical heartland.
Katsof said most Ethiopian Jews eat only one meal a day.
“They live in terrible conditions, in tiny, one-room mud huts with no sanitation,” said Katsof. “If they have food to cook, they prepare it on a coal or wood fire. As many as 100 people share a single bathroom. Nonetheless, they continue to remain hopeful and faithful to Judaism, Jerusalem and God.”
Adina Mekonen, an Ethiopian immigrant who today lives in Petach Tikva, volunteered in Ethiopia last Passover. She said “people are dying of hunger. You would not believe they can make it through the day.
“When I left, they said to me, ‘Don’t forget me,’” she continued. “But they have been forgotten.”
At the protest, dozens of Ethiopians told their stories. Mamush [last name withheld], for example, moved to Israel 10 years ago with her husband and oldest child. Since then, she has been waiting for her mother to be granted permission to move to Israel, too.
“My mother never met my youngest children,” Mamush told Breaking Israel News. “I want my family to be here in Israel. It is so hard to be alone.”
She said, “We are Jews, this is our land and we want to be in Israel.”
A 2018 demonstration against antisemitism in Berlin. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.
A slight drop in the number of antisemitic incidents in Berlin during the first half of this year is no excuse for complacency, the city’s antisemitism commissioner emphasized on Thursday following the publication of statistics for hate crimes targeting Jews in the German capital from January-June 2019.
“Antisemitism remains a serious problem that we cannot tolerate in Berlin,” Lorenz Korgel — the city’s commissioner for combating antisemitism — told local news outlet Berliner Morgenpost. “The number of antisemitic incidents remains at a high level. ”
People wear kippas at a demonstration in front of a Jewish synagogue denouncing an antisemitic attack on a young man wearing a kippa, in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
The population of the State of Israel has increased 2.1% since last year, according to a report released in time for Rosh Hashanah by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Today, there are 9.1 million citizens of Israel, of which some 6.7 million (74%) are Jewish, the report shows. The country’s citizens also include 1.9 million Arabs (21%) and 0.4% of “others,” including Christians and those of other minority groups.
A women holds up a sign against anti-Semitism at a rally in New York City on Sept. 22, 2019. Photo: Rhonda Hodas Hack.
JNS.org – Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in front of City Hall in New York on Sunday, calling on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other municipal leaders, as well as those on the national level, to act against antisemitism and the wave of antisemitic hate crimes taking place against the Orthodox Jewish community.
The beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.
On the eve of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, ushering in the Jewish year of 5780, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released its traditional end-of-the-year findings.
Israel’s population now stands at 9.092 million people — 6.744 million (74.2 percent) of whom are Jews, with 1.907 million (21 percent) Arabs and 441,000 (4.8 percent) listed as “other.”
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason. Photo: Instagram.
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason play Pertshik and Hodl, whose love story takes them all the way to Siberia in the award-winning show by the National Yiddish Theatre.
“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” — Sherlock Holmes, The Boscombe Valley Mystery
“Israel must, in the most blunt and clear way possible, illustrate to Washington that the prosperity of Jordan is a first-rate Israeli security and strategic interest.” — Former head of Mossad Ephraim Halevy at “Between Jerusalem and Amman: 25 Years Since the Signing of the Peace Agreement Between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” Institute for National Security Studies, Sept. 25, 2019.
A thought came to mind the other day.
For all the bluster about Judaism and anti-Semitism in America, I am not convinced that far-out-left and liberal young Jews, who have been very strident and even threatening on Israel-related issues and local American political battles, have done much on the ground to confront and quash, one way or another, attacks on Jews. They have portrayed themselves as gliding along a moral highway but have permitted immoral actions to exist quite close to home, far from Gaza (did any of them recite a public Kaddish in the town square for murdered and injured Jews, or their damaged and desecrated property)?
One of the hallmark features of Yom Kippur are the communal sins which we need to repent for. Most Jews focus on what we have done personally towards G-d and towards others. Little thought is given to how we could be better as a community. Or the sins we bear as a community.
However, the communal recitation of the Al Chet, repeated over and over on Yom Kippur is to drive the point home that we are responsible for one another
Incoming freshman Member of Knesset from the leftist, Democratic Union list, Yair Golan, did it again. Golan’s constant delegitimization of his political opponents on the right, smacks of the same delegitimization that tyrants, dictators, demagogues and assorted totalitarians always use, just before the Putsch.
In that regard, he’s right when he said recently, “I’m reminding people that the Nazis came to power democratically, so we have to be careful, very careful, so that radicals with a messianic view won’t exploit Israeli democracy to replace the system of government.” Think “
As Israeli frustration mounts about violence coming out of Gaza, the idea of a ground invasion, and once and for all to finish with Hamas aggression, becomes more appealing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed this approach, saying, “There probably won’t be a choice but to topple the Hamas regime.” While sympathetic to this impulse, I worry that too much attention is paid to tactics and not enough to goals. The result could be harmful to Israel.