Monday, April 04, 2016

Israel: No promised land for Ethiopian Jews

(Apr 04, 2016, (GONDAR), ((Ethiopia)))--Recently in the northwestern Ethiopian city of Bahir Dar, I had the pleasure of encountering an Israeli tourist who was displeased by the superior fees charged to foreign visitors for entrance to the country’s museums, churches, and other sites. Ethiopian citizens pay much less.

Never mind that the per capita annual income in Ethiopia - $550 according to the World Bank’s last calculation - is less than the price of the average round-trip ticket from Tel Aviv to Addis Ababa. According to the Israeli, the disparity in entrance fees was tantamount to “racism” - a curious choice of vocabulary, no doubt, for a white person hailing from a state that has racism rather down to an art, and even more curious in the context of Ethiopia in particular.

The Ethiopian community in Israel at present numbers about 135,000 people. The arrival of Ethiopian Jews to the Jewish state began in the 1970s, when, as a BBC article notes, “the Israeli secret service Mossad organised their immigration through refugee camps in Sudan,” where they were fleeing war, famine and persecution.

In the 1980s and '90s, the Israeli military staged two major covert airlift operations, dubbed “Operation Moses” and “Operation Solomon” respectively. After that, migration continued in slightly less dramatic form. Read more from Middle East Eye‎ »

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