TEL AVIV (Jan. 8)
The remnant of the Jewish community in Ethiopia lives in a state of panic and fear since the airlift rescue of Ethiopian Jews received world-wide publicity following its disclosure in Israel last week in a public relations fiasco that forced its suspension.
This was the disquieting news brought from Ethiopi by an unidentified non-Israeli diplomat, published in Maariv today. There have been conflicting reports of the number of Jews still in Ethiopia. Figures given by different Jewish Agency spokesmen in recent days range as high as 10,000 in Ethiopia and another 4,000 in refugee camps in Sudan waiting for planes to carry them to Israel.
Whatever their number, they fear increased hostility from their non-Jewish neighbors now that it is known that thousands of Jews have been flown to safety from that famine-stricken war-ravaged land.
The unidentified diplomat confirmed reports that the Ethiopian Air Force has bombed columns of refugees trying to cross the border into Sudan, Maariv reported. He said a number of Jews were among these refugees.
The Ethiopian Jews fear not only reprisals from their own government which was furious over the airlift disclosure, but assaults by starving non-Jewish Ethiopians to steal what little food the Jewish refugees have.