The Falashas: A Short History of the Ethiopian Jews
Frank Cass, 1996 - 191 pages
At the end of 1984 and in May 1991 virtually the whole of the ancient black Jewish community of Ethiopia - known as the Falashas or Beta Israel - was transported to Israel in two massive secret airlifts. This drastic step was necessary because the situation of the approximately 50,000 people had become desperate. The only way to rescue them from intolerable conditions was to unite them with their co-religionists in the Promised Land where, throughout the centuries, they had longed to live.
In the first two editions of this book David Kessler gave a brief outline of the history of these people from Biblical times and described their struggle against the lay and religious establishment for recognition as an authentic branch of the Jewish people. The airlifts of 1984 and 1991 were a vindication of their claim.
This third, revised edition comprises the whole of the original volume and is enhanced by the addition of a new preface and an afterword which seek to reply to criticisms of the author's argument about the origins of the Falashas, and include some new thinking on the subject. Drawing on tradition and legend to reinforce his argument, the author again traces the source of the community to the Jewish settlements which existed in ancient Egypt (particularly at Elephantine on the Nile) and in the ancient Meroitic kingdom, in present-day Sudan, known in the Bible as Cush.
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