The Red Sea Diving Resort the Mossad Used to Bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel

March 6 2020

In the 1980s, trying to help Jews fleeing war-torn Ethiopia make it to the Jewish state, the Mossad purchased an abandoned hotel on the Sudanese coast and turned it into a front for their operation. From there, the agents found Ethiopian Jews who had traveled, usually on foot, to Sudan, and then transported them to Israel. The story was told in fictionalized form in the Netflix film The Red Sea Diving Resort, but the journalist Raffi Berg has recently written a historical work about the affair, based on extensive research and interviews with the participants. He discusses the story in an interview with James Sorene:

[T]he Ethiopian Jewish community [had] existed for centuries, driven by an ancestral longing to return to the lands of its forefathers, which these Jews did not call the land of Israel but rather “the land of Jerusalem.” They expected that the day would come when they would leave Ethiopia and return to Israel.

It is a common misperception that the Ethiopian Jews were “rescued” by the Mossad. Even the Mossad people don’t like that terminology, and Ethiopian Jews themselves do not like this term, either. There is a very good reason for this, and that is the fact that these communities were indeed agents of their own fate. The Ethiopian Jews [embarked on a] tremendous odyssey, on foot, from Ethiopia across the border into Sudan, and it was a hellish journey. They climbed over mountains, through deserts and jungles and across rivers, with very few provisions. About 16,000 Ethiopian Jews made the journey, and around 1,500 did not make it to Sudan.

At first, small numbers of Ethiopian Jews were being smuggled out of the Khartoum airport and passed off as non-Jewish refugees. As the number of Ethiopian Jews began to increase quite drastically, [a Mossad agent interviewed by Berg, who goes only by the name “Dani”], had to conceive of ways in which he could scale up the operation. He suggested ceasing to rely on the airport and instead using the Israeli Navy, which could transport the Jews from Sudan’s coast. When he was trying to identify sites for a suitable landing bay, Dani stumbled across this abandoned diving resort. If the Mossad could get hold of it and turn it into a Club-Med style resort, it could be used as a legitimate base for operatives to live and work at in the daytime and carry out “people smuggling” operations at night.

Read more at Fathom

More about: Ethiopian Jews, Film, Mossad

President Biden Should Learn the Lessons of Past U.S. Attempts to Solve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Sept. 21 2023

In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Joe Biden addressed a host of international issues, mentioning, inter alia, the “positive and practical impacts” resulting from “Israel’s greater normalization and economic connection with its neighbors.” He then added that the U.S. will “continue to work tirelessly to support a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians—two states for two peoples.” Zach Kessel experiences some déjà vu:

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and review how past U.S.-brokered talks between Jerusalem and [Palestinian leaders] have gone down, starting with 1991’s Madrid Conference, organized by then-President George H.W. Bush. . . . Though the talks, which continued through the next year, didn’t get anywhere concrete, many U.S. officials and observers across the world were heartened by the fact that Madrid was the first time representatives of both sides had met face to face. And then Palestinian militants carried out the first suicide bombing in the history of the conflict.

Then, in 1993, Bill Clinton tried his hand with the Oslo Accords:

In the period of time directly after the Oslo Accords . . . suicide bombings on buses and in crowded public spaces became par for the course. Clinton invited then-Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to Camp David in 2000, hoping finally to put the conflict to rest. Arafat, who quite clearly aimed to extract as many concessions as possible from the Israelis without ever intending to agree to any deal—without even putting a counteroffer on the table—scuttled any possibility of peace. Of course, that’s not the most consequential event for the conflict that occurred in 2000. Soon after the Camp David Summit fell apart, the second intifada began.

Since Clinton, each U.S. president has entered office hoping to put together the puzzle that is an outcome acceptable to both sides, and each has failed. . . . Every time a deal has seemed to have legs, something happens—usually terrorist violence—and potential bargains are scrapped. What, then, makes Biden think this time will be any different?

Read more at National Review

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Joe Biden, Palestinian terror, Peace Process