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A Case of Mistaken Identity

Reader comment on item: How Ukrainian Refugees Could Inadvertently Erase the West

Submitted by Michael Greengard (Israel), Jul 10, 2022 at 06:02

The inclusion by Daniel Pipes in his article of the question of Ethiopian vs. Ukrainian immigrants to Israel is mistaken.
Israel's record on accepting Jews from Ethiopia is atrocious.

There was an Israeli embassy in Ethiopia from 1961 until 1974. The policy of this embassy was to grant entry visas to Israel to Christians, but not to Jews. When I read this in the early 1980s, I found it unbelievable, and said it must be an invention. An Ethiopian Jewish acquaintance said, "No, it's not an invention. It happened to me. I went to the embassy and pretended to be a Christian, but they unmasked me as a Jew, so I did not receive a visa." There is a Christian Ethiopian community in Israel that has often been free to travel back and forth between Ethiopia and Israel when Ethiopian Jews did not enjoy this freedom, and do not have it now.
Unlike many of the Ukrainian refugees entering Israel, the Ethiopians seeking immigration (aliya!) to Israel are Jews. What justification can there be for giving non-Jewish Ukrainians preference over Jewish Ethiopians in immigration, given that under Israel's Law of Return, every Jew is legally entitled to immigrate to Israel? This policy constitutes moral imbecility.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

What's mistaken? My only reference to Ethiopia reads like this:

"In Israel, the immigration and absorption minister, Pnina Tamano-Shata, who is of Ethiopian origins, called out colleagues for the "hypocrisy of white people" regarding the government's treatment of refugees from Ukraine versus those from Ethiopia."

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