The JTA’s Uriel Heilman has written yet another inaccurate article about Ethiopian Jews. The errors in his reporting are so large, they must be intentional. Here is one out of many howlers:
Israel, which had clandestine ties with Mengistu’s regime, feared
that the TPLF’s anti-Zionist rhetoric and hostility toward Mengistu
could lead to massacres of the Jews when the rebels took Addis, and
quickly put together a plan to rescue the country’s remaining Jews.
Israel pressed the United States to persuade the rebels to hold their
positions on the hilltops around Addis for 36 hours while Israel
airlifted more than 14,000 Jews out of the country.
The fall of Addis came just hours after the completion of Operation Solomon, on May 24, 1991.
The US did not need to be pressured – if anything, Israel did. Indeed, former US Senator Rudy Boschwitz packaged the rescue for President Bush. The Israelis in effect came along for the ride.
The JTA continually proves itself to be less than reputable. Heilman is downright sleazy. And here’s more proof of that:
But in 1979, an insurgency in northern Ethiopia opened an exit route
to Sudan, and thousands of Ethiopian Jews — who called themselves Beta
Israel but were known to outsiders as Falasha — began fleeing the
famine and war of northern Ethiopia on a journey they hoped would end
Along with thousands of other Ethiopians fleeing their country,
which at the time was ruled by communist dictator Mengistu Haile
Mariam, the Jews settled in refugee camps in Sudan and waited for
Mossad operatives to take them out.
For the first few years, those who were taken to Israel left in one
of three ways. Some were given forged documents and put onto planes in
Khartoum bound for Athens. Once in Europe, they then were quietly put
onto planes to Israel. Others were moved from their Sudanese refugee
camps at night to Port Sudan, where Israeli naval commandos put them
onto clandestine naval vessels and then transferred them onto ships
headed for Israel. A few were airlifted directly to Israel from the
Sudanese desert on illicit flights.
A famine in Ethiopia in 1984 lent great urgency to the effort to
rescue Ethiopia’s Jews, many of whom were dying of starvation and
disease in refugee camps in Sudan while they waited to be taken to
In the covert maneuver Operation Moses, Israel began airlifting
large numbers of Ethiopian Jews from Sudan’s desert beginning in
November 1984. Leaks about the operation and growing risks forced its
early end in January 1985, after more than 8,000 Jews had been brought
to Israel in the space of just six weeks.
Thousands more remained stranded in communist Ethiopia.
No mention of the Ethiopian Jew, Baruch Tegegne, who risked his life to open those Sudanese routes, only to have Israel refuse to admit the Jews he saved. No mention of the privately funded rescues Tegegne carried out. No mention of the years people waited in Sudan to be saved while Yitzhak Shamir’s government refused to save them. No mention that the leaks that killed Operation Moses (a US-led operation, by the way) came from the Israeli government, with the ultimate leak, the one that finally killed the rescue, coming directly and publicly from the Prime Minister himself, Shimon Peres. And I could go on.
Heilman is either incompetent or a liar. Either way, he should not be working for the JTA.