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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Invention of Ethiopian Jews: Three Models
Author:Kaplan, Steven
Periodical:Cahiers d'études africaines
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://doi.org/10.3406/cea.1993.1497
Abstract:Prior to 1977 all but a handful of Beta Israel (Falasha) lived in Ethiopia. During the 1980s almost half of them emigrated to Israel and in 1991 'Operation Solomon' put an end to the Beta Israel as a living Ethiopian community; by the end of 1992 virtually all the 'Ethiopian Jews' were in Israel. The past decade and a half has also seen a radical redefinition of both their self-identity and the way in which they are depicted by outsiders. In the first part of this paper the author considers three perspectives on Beta Israel identity. He begins with a summary of recent historical-anthropological opinions on the Beta Israel that are heavily influenced by African and, in particular, Ethiopian studies. He then considers the manner in which the Beta Israel are portrayed in Jewish and Israeli sources. Finally, through an examination of their stories of origin and the names they use, he explores the way in which the Beta Israel themselves are redefining their self-image. In the second part, the author considers the dynamics of and the relationships between the different models. In particular, he attempts to understand the manner in which recent events are reflected not only in a transformation of the way in which they are perceived, but also in the development of new linkages between the different models. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French (p. 690).