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The Light of Origins. Beta Israel and the Return To Yerusalem

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This article looks at the issue of the origin of the Ethiopian Jews and how they have survived the odyssey of their return to Yerusalem. The questions of how and when ancient Judaic influences entered Ethiopia remain the subject of controversy. Their impact on the last surviving Ethiopian Jews, the Beta Israel, and the Ethiopian Jews' right of return to modern Israel are of undoubted importance today. This raises the issue of whether the religious ideal and the automatic right of all jews to emigrate to Israel are equally applied. Furthermore, the concrete experiences of the Ethiopian Jews in Israel compel one to ask new questions about the possibility of the Beta Israel beginning to rethink their relationship with Ethiopian society.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology University of South Africa P.O. Box 392, Pretoria, 0003 Republic of South Africa


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