JERUSALEM (Jan. 10)
A document prepared six year-ago by an Absorption Ministry researcher recommended to the government and the Jewish Agency not to encourage Falasha aliya to Israel. The document was publicized for the first time today and Falasha activists here said it confirmed their recent allegations that the government and the Agency have not been acting energetically, to bring their brethren from Ethiopia to Israel.
The Falasha activists claim that over recent years thousands of their brethren have been killed or sold into slavery as a result of the political upheavals in Ethiopia.
The document was a report by a Dr. Luttwak, researcher for the Absorption Ministry, on world Jewry. It cited reasons of policy — the importance and delicacy of Israel’s relations at that time with Ethiopia–as one basis for its recommendations not to encourage Falasha aliya. (Emperor Haile Selassie’s government was always negatively disposed to the idea of Falasha aliya.)
The document, moreover, cited learned authors to the effect that the Falashas are a part of the ethnic mosaic that forms the Ethiopian nation and that they have no real links to the Jewish people ethnically or culturally. Luttwak warned that if aliya were encouraged, many other Ethiopians, seeking to improve their living standards, would pretend to be Falashas in order to be admitted to Israel.
A spokesman for the Absorption Ministry said today that the document had not served as a guideline or basis for policy decisions by the government or the Jewish Agency. The spokesman repeated earlier statements by other high officials that the government had done and was doing a great deal to help Falashas make aliya–but political sensitivity dictated that all details be kept secret.