PARIS (Jan. 9)
The French Sephardic Federation is urging Israel to do all it can to resume the rescue of thousands of Jews still in Ethiopia or stranded in refugee camps in Sudan since the airlift that brought them to Israel was suspended over the weekend.
The appeal was made in a cable to Premier Shimon Peres. The Federation expressed “consternation” over the halt of the airlift but expressed confidence that the Israeli government would do all it can “on behalf of the stranded families.”
At the same time, the Federation said it has launched a fund-raising campaign to send doctors, medicine and medical equipment to famine-stricken Ethiopia on a non-sectarian basis. It said the funds raised would be handed over to a non-Jewish medical organization to help the starving population without discrimination.
Uri Gordon, the head of the Jewish Agency’s Youth Aliya department, told a press conference here that $121 million would be needed to absorb young Ethiopian Jews into Israeli society. He said Israel has sent millions of dollars worth of medical supplies, clothing, food and tents for distribution to the general population. The United Jewish Appeal of France also launched a fund-raising drive Monday to help the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency meet the huge costs of the transportation and the absorption of Ethiopian Jews into the Israeli community.
The UJA did not say how much money it planned to raise but stressed that the campaign will be treated as “a major emergency. “All members of the French-Jewish community will be asked to fulfill their obligations, the UJA said.