Israel has agreed to withdraw it’s troops from Lebanon by the weekend. About 80 percent of the Israeli force has already left after the 34 day war with a Lebanese Hizbollah guerilla group, but Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz said that Israel wanted the troops home by Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) which begins on Friday. The French have also deployed their peace keeping force, increasing the number of troops to 4950. The UN feels that a force of 5 000 is sufficient to enforce the August 14 truce between the two countries. The peace keeping force will aid the 10 000 Lebanese troops already deployed in Southern Lebanon.
In 1984 and again in 1991, the IDF air-lifted thousands of Ethiopian jews to Israel under the Law of Return. Called Falashas (strangers) by their neighbors but more properly known as Beta Israel, the immigrants were secretly flown out of famine and rebellion to the Holy Land.
Today in Ethiopia, there is a group of people called the Falash Mora. They are the christian descendants of ethiopian jews who converted out of fear of persecution. They are returning to Isreal now in a much slower process than their relatives the Beta Israel, the Canadian Jewish News reports. The Falash Mora are able to return because of family reunification laws in Israel.
These people will be leaving their dirt-floored huts and their $1US/day jobs for life in the only true liberal democracy in the middle east. It will be a difficult adjustment, but the Israeli ministry of Immigrant Absorption is on the job.
Many of the Falash Mora have converted back to Judaism. They are seen to practise the faith with a strong piety not seen amongst many jews. The chief Rabbi in Israel has declared them as jews, because they originally converted out of fear and persecution.
As with almost everything that occurs in the middle east, the immigrations are controversial. They are certainly taxing on Israel, and as the process drags on, it becomes less and less clear who are really jews and who have taken up the mantle in order to gain entry to Israel.