NEW YORK (Jan. 8)
Carrying placards reading “No More Holocausts Moss Aliya for Ethiopian Jews, “and chanting “Save Ethiopian-Jewry Now, “some 200 people watched yesterday in front of the Israeli Consulate in the first vigil for Ethiopian Jewry. The vigil, which later moved to the Isaiah Wall opposite the United Nations, was sponsored by the American Association for Ethiopian Jewry (AAEJ).
The purpose of the vigil was to express solidarity with the hundreds of Ethiopian Jews, known as Falashas, who hours before demonstrated outside Premier Menachem Begin’s office in Jerusalem to express concern for the worsening plight of the Falashas in Ethiopia and to urge the government to undertake immediate emergency fescue efforts.
Representatives of the AAEJ in New York delivered a letter to the Israeli Consulate, calling on the Israeli government and world Jewish organizations to make the rescue of Ethiopian Jewry a matter of the highest priority. Eli Rockowitz, AAEJ spokesman, read an excerpt from a letter to Begin from the Falashas in Israel which stated.
“We believe with all out hearts that there is the danger of immediate annihilation facing our people (in Ethiopia) and this threat can no longer remain a matter of concern only for us and for the few people in Israel working on this matter. The fate of our people must be a cause for concern for Jews everywhere. We now publicly cry out to them to save their people in Ethiopia.”
Rabbi Avi Weiss of Riverdale led the assembled group in the chanting of psalms on behalf of the Falashas, and Graenum Berger, AAEJ vice president, appealed to American Jewry to encourage their organizational leadership to spare no effort in attempting the immediate rescue and aliya of the Falashas in Ethiopia. Similar rallies are being planned in other cities throughout the United States. The next one will be held in Los Angeles later this week.