Rescue of Remaining Ethiopian Jews May Lead to Coalition Crisis: Report

Some government ministers fear that the inaction by aliyah of the remaining Jews in Ethiopia could lead to a crisis against aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, Army Radio political correspondent reported Monday morning, Moriah Asraf-Wohlberg. This is due to Tamano-Shata’s unwillingness to engage on the issue, and she cannot see herself staying in government if no action is taken.

Asraf-Wohlberg revealed on Sunday that, according to a classified document compiled by the National Security Institute, it is unclear to what extent the remaining 8,000 Jews are actually Jewish and to what extent they are actually in danger. The document added that bringing them to Israel without a proper investigation is a demographic error and that a rescue operation may create tensions with the Ethiopian authorities.

Haaretz Political correspondent Michael Hauzer-Tov revealed on Sunday that Israel had already airlifted dozens of Ethiopians from the war-torn country, but later learned that they were not actually Jews.

Tamano-Shata and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) will meet on Monday to discuss the issue, and the government will meet Monday night for a special discussion on the issue with all relevant bodies.

The Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning to Ethiopia on Thursday due to reports that rebel forces intended to occupy the capital, and on Saturday began evacuating the families of Israeli diplomats from the country.

Ethiopians, who fled ongoing fighting in the Tigray region, carry their belongings after crossing the Setit River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border in the eastern state of Kassala, Sudan, on December 16, 2020 (credit : MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH / REUTERS)

On Sunday, Ori Frednik, Ethiopia’s chief of Jews, called on the government to launch an operation to bring the remaining Jews to Israel, in light of the increasing violence in the country.

“We are receiving worrying reports from the sons and daughters of the Jewish communities in Addis Ababa and Gondar. A lightning rescue operation is needed before disaster strikes. Prime Minister Bennet can make history and follow the paths of [Menachem] Get started and [Yitzchak] Shamir with an effective Aliya operation, or be remembered as the one who ignored the warnings and did not avoid the worst of all, “he warned.

“The Interior Ministry says there are about 8,000 Jews in Ethiopia, [and] they are part of the heart and soul of the community in Israel, “Frednik added Monday in an interview with Army Radio.” We have relatives waiting there. We founded this country to accept Jews in danger, but when it comes to black Jews there are problems. Suddenly it becomes a favor, “he said.

The recent escalation in Ethiopia is part of a year-long conflict between the Tigrayan forces and the Ethiopian army.

A joint investigation by the UN and an Ethiopian human rights team found that all parties have tortured and murdered civilians, carried out gang rapes and arrested people solely on the basis of their ethnic origin.

The war between the two parties started more than a year ago when Tigray soldiers in the national army took control of the military bases in Tigray.

Gadi Zaig contributed to this article.

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