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Posted March 4, 2011
This book is about the undercover rescue of hundreds of Ethiopian Jews from 1977 through 1991. Author Gad Shimron, a former Mossad agent, agrees to be hired as a consultant to join a small group of Mossad agents, including his friend Danny to rescue hundreds of Jews from Sudan. Shimron agrees to go to Sudan, a country not friendly to Israel at the time, and set up a fake tourist resort in Arous. He and three other agents will work there undercover to rescue as many Ethiopian Jews as possible and get them to Israel. In Sudan, Jews are being discriminated against and living in extreme poverty. In 1981, Prime Minister, Menachim Begin initiates a major effort to successfully aid the Beta YIsrael. During the next few years, hundreds of them will be rescued and brought to live in Israel. In the 1990's thousands of Ethiopian Jews will also be rescued by others than Shimron's group and they will be brought to Israel where they will settle. Shimron is a good writer and the story is made even more interesting because he relates all of the obstacles he encounters during the time of the rescues. In addition, the reader learns a great deal about how the Mossad operates and follows the endearing and funny exploits of these Israeli heroes. Shimron and his buddies have many adventures including diving expeditions, while actually creating a tourist resort in the middle of nowhere in the Sudan desert. Keep in mind, these men are willing to spend day after day in the very, very hot temperatures of Arous, Sudan. They are a small group of twenty and thirty year olds who worked in Sudan under difficult conditions, minimal phone contact, electricity that could not counted on to be available most of the time, and limited access to water with not much to do in the area. Of course, things improved as they built up the pretend tourist resort! I found the book the most interesting when Shimron is describing the actual rescue efforts. Each time I wondered if they would get caught and what the consequences would be. At one point, Shimron explains that the Ethiopian Jews are being rescued by a large aircraft and are scared to death since they've never seen an airplane before. One of the Ethiopians describes the scene and how he felt entering the large plane, "I felt like the prophet Jonah who was swallowed by the whale," he tells Shimron. After the rescue operations are over for Gad Shimron, he works at Maarev at the foreign news desk in Israel. Years later he takes a trip back to Ethiopia and tells the reader yet another interesting story about his exploits. This fascinating book is filled with many worthwhile stories of inspiration and heroism. Definitely worth reading and learning more about the positive side of human nature!
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Posted May 14, 2011
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