Bringing the Remnants of Ethiopian Jewry Home to Israel

In 2020, through an initiative officially called Operation Rock of Israel, 950 Ethiopian Jews have made their way to the Jewish state. Pnina Tamano-Shata, the minister of aliyah and integration—who herself emigrated from Ethiopia at the age of three—hopes to bring another 1,000 this year. Eliana Rudee provides some historical context:

Since the establishment of modern-day Israel in 1948, the government has brought 95,000 immigrants from Ethiopia. In the mid-1980s, 8,000 immigrants arrived with Operation Moses through Sudan. As part of Operation Solomon conducted in 1991, an airlift brought 14,000 immigrants to Israel. In the summer of 2013, the Jewish Agency concluded Operation Doves’ Wings, which brought 7,000 immigrants from Ethiopia to Israel.

Today, approximately 13,000 Jews currently reside in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, and in Gondar in the northern part of the African country. According to the Jewish Agency, most live in poverty and are waiting to be taken to Israel, which they consider their homeland.

Compared to other immigrant populations of Israel, the Ethiopian community’s immigration has been one of the most drawn out, partially because diverse groups exist within Ethiopia’s Jewish community. . . . Some 8,000 Falash Mura (members of a Jewish Ethiopian community whose ancestors converted to Christianity under pressure in the early 1900s) are waiting to make aliyah from Ethiopia, with their immigration previously approved in 2015 by a government decision.

Yet their actual immigration has suffered multiple delays, which Tamano-Shata seeks to remedy. She believes that some 10,000 Jews who wish to come to Israel remain, and that the Jewish state has an obligation to help them.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Aliyah, Ethiopian Jews, Israeli politics

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy