The United Jewish Communities of North America yesterday issued an unusual statement accusing the Israeli government of reneging on its promises, in view of the Finance Ministry’s intention to reduce the monthly quota of Ethiopian immigrants from 300 to 150.…
About 18 months ago, the government decided to increase the monthly quota of Falashmura immigrants from 300 to 600, and asked American Jewry for urgent assistance. The prime minister at the time, Ariel Sharon, even made a personal appeal to Jewish community leaders in the U.S. when he visited New York last year. The response was a special campaign entitled “Operation Promise,” which set the goal of raising $100 million to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel and help settle them.
“We suspended the rest of our activity and focused on this campaign,” says a senior UJC official in Israel. “Now they’re making a laughing stock out of us.” …
The UJC statement said that not only had $70 million been raised so far for the Falashmura, but in the past month U.S. Jews had contributed an additional $270 million in an emergency campaign to aid Israelis, including Ethiopians, who were hurt by the war.
A delegation of American Jewish community leaders visited Israel about two months ago and raised tough questions about the government’s failure to increase the monthly immigration quota to 600 after asking them for money to that end. “Already then they couldn’t understand this. What will we tell them now?” the senior UJC official in Israel said. “We’re dealing with a deep problem of trust here. This will exact a price. The next time we come to ask them for money, they might think twice.”
Why in the world should anyone trust the word of this Israeli government?