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UNESCO vs. Jerusalem

Ethiopian Jews at the Western Wall on Jerusalem Day (Photo: IFCJ)

Israel is home to people of many backgrounds and origins, including those Jews who have come to the Holy Land from the four corners of the earth. One such olim (immigrant), Tsega Melaku, is an Ethiopian Jew who came to Israel during Operation Moses. Writing at Israel Hayom, she defends her biblical homeland from the attacks against it by the international community:

I was born in Ethiopia, in Africa. My forefathers came there after the destruction of the First Temple. For thousands of years my community yearned for that lost home in Jerusalem, hoping to one day return and rebuild it. When scholars arrived there to talk with the Jews, the first question they were asked was, "How are our brethren in Jerusalem?" This question was immediately followed by, "Has the temple been rebuilt?" The hope of returning gave us power and gave us what it took to withstand persecution and anti-Semitism. We always had a prayer that one day we would be able to return. Not to Tel Aviv or Haifa, to our Jerusalem.

In the 1980s, when a Soviet-backed Ethiopia prevented us from going back to Jerusalem, we did not give up and we made it there against all the odds. Women, men and children walked, barefoot, despite the dangers all over that meant death for some until they were flown to Israel. This long journey felt like a modern version of Exodus and ultimately became known as Operation Moses. The journey, in which thousands would die from hunger or disease, had one purpose: to make it back to Jerusalem, to rebuild the temple where it once stood.

This week UNESCO ratified a resolution that severs the Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. I experienced anti-Semitism while growing up in Ethiopia, where we would be called Falasha -- the strangers, the unworthy, those who should be denied rights...

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Landscape photo of Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock in the foreground.

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