Don’t Abandon Ethiopians say Progressives
The World Union for Progressive Judaism representing 1.8 million affiliated Jews in 42 countries calls upon the Jewish Agency and the State of Israel to re-consider seriously the decision to close down Operation Dove Wings.
This program has successfully brought seven thousand of Ethiopian Jews ( Falash Mura or Zera Israel) to live in Israel. Unfortunately, nearly 5000 have been left behind. Many of those, who have been waiting for years to join family already living in Israel are now destitute and are living on charity handouts. The excuse given has been that many of those left are not halakhically Jewish but all of those who have been previously accepted go though a year conversion program even though many can show matrilineal Jewish decent.
The living conditions in Gondar are harsh and those waiting have few or no resources. Mothers wait to join children already accepted, siblings their brothers and sisters. The decisions to accept or refuse migration to Israel appears arbitrary and in many cases very unfair, dividing families and committing those left behind to a life of poverty and misery.
Having successfully brought so many Ethiopian Jews to Israel surely the Jewish Agency and the State of Israel could provide a sympathetic gesture and fly those left behind to live in the land of their dreams.”