Govt. Challenged on Falashas

The government was challenged yesterday to implement measures on behalf of the Falashas, Ethiopia’s Jewish community now reportedly confined to “ghetto” camps in that country and neighboring Sudan. The issue: was addressed in an urgent agenda motion presented to the Knesset by Labor Alignment MK Moshe Shahal.

Shahal told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he wanted to raise the matter four months ago but refrained at the government’s request because of the delicacy of the situation. He said he has since received information from a Canadian television crew which visited Ethiopia recently that the plight of the Falashas has worsened.

According to Shahal, 25,000 Falashas are confined to four camps guarded by soldiers in the pay of Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi. They are subject to constant harassment and terror, receive no assistance from any outside institutions and fear to identify themselves as Jews, Shahal said.

He said he will demand a report from the government of what it has done for the Falashas. According to Shahal, the government is not enthusiastic about rescuing Falashas because it fears there may be some non-Jews among them. Shahal said he learned of a young Falasha who escaped to West Germany but was denied an Israeli immigrant visa and returned to Khartoum in Sudan where he committed suicide.

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