CHRISTIAN-JEWISH GROUP FUNDS QUARA RESCUE
Galvanized by The Report’s coverage of the abandoned Jews of Quara, an American Christian-Jewish group has donated $ 100,000 to the UJA and promised a total of $ 2 million or more to bring the 2,000-plus Jews left behind in that remote Ethiopian region to Israel by the end of the year. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, has previously raised $ 17 million from his mailing list of 250,000 evangelical Christians to fund immigration from the former Soviet Union.
The Fellowship’s $ 7 million 1998 donation for that purpose, though barely publicized, was the year’s biggest gift to the UJA. Now Eckstein is turning to his donors – predominantly Christian, but some Jewish – to expedite the Quara rescue.
The Chicago-based Eckstein, visiting Israel in mid-February, told The Report that, on reading Micha Odenheimer’s June 22, 1998 cover story on the Jews of Quara, who were scandalously left off the 1991 Operation Solomon airlift to Israel, he resolved to help.
The Israeli authorities had been suggesting that, because of staffing and budgetary pressures, it might take 18 months to complete the immigration. The donations from Eckstein’s group are intended to cover the dispatch of extra Interior Ministry staff to Ethiopia, and to finance the flights. Having handed over an initial $ 100,000, Eckstein is making the donation of the additional $ 1.4 million to $ 1.9 million that the entire operation is expected to cost conditional on its being completed “hopefully by Rosh Hashanah, but definitely by the end of the year.”