NEW YORK (Sep. 12)
Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and Operation Moses, the rescue mission that brought 10,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel, are the co-recipients of the 1985 $100,000 Jabotinsky Prize-Defender of Jerusalem Award.
In announcing the awards at a news conference here today, Eryk Spektor, chairman of the Jabotinsky Foundation said, “We are proud to honor Ambassador Kirkpatrick for her valiant support of Israel and the Jewish people during her tenure at the United Nations. Mrs. Kirkpatrick spoke out tirelessly and eloquently in the face of constant hostility and harassment.”
“We are also pleased to honor Operation Moses,” Spektor continued. “This rescue mission, which brought endangered Ethiopian Jews to the State of Israel, embodies the spirit of Zeev Jabotinsky, who in the late 1930′s warned the Jews of Europe to flee the impending Nazi Holocaust. The award to Operation Moses affirms the crucial importance of rescuing beleaguered Jews of the diaspora.”
Spektor announced that the Operation Moses award funds will be used to create 50 Jabotinsky scholarships at Israeli institutions of higher learning for young people brought to Israel by Operation Moses. The scholarship program will be administered by the three Jabotinsky Prize judges who live in Israel. Alexander Grass, national chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, reacting to the Jabotinsky Foundation’s selection of Operation Moses, said, “We are tremendously gratified.” He described Operation Moses as “a joint humanitarian effort of the American Jewish community and the people of Israel.”
Grass noted that the UJA/Federation Campaign “joined the government of Israel and the Jewish Agency Department of Immigration and Absorption in the reception and absorption in Israel of the Ethiopian Jewish community.”
The UJA/Federation conducted special Operation Moses appeals in more than 600 Jewish communities across the U.S. between December, 1984 and April 1985, which raised over $63 million toward the initial cost of absorbing the Ethiopian immigrants, including housing, medical care and language and vocational training, Grass said.
The 1985 Jabotinsky Prize will be awarded at a ceremony October 30 in New York City. The guest speaker will be Israeli Ambassador Meir Rosenne.