Tadella Kanna, a 6-year-old who had been living in the Jewish Agency camp in Gondar, Ethiopia, was brought to Israel over the weekend to be treated for a heart defect that doctors said would have killed her if left untreated.
There are about 3,000 Ethiopians in Gondar who have authorization to make aliyah [immigrate to Israel] following the November 2010 government decision to bring them to Israel. The process began in January 2011 at a rate of 200 immigrants per month. In the meantime, these Ethiopian Jews, called Falash Mura, live in a Jewish Agency-run facility where they are educated, taught Hebrew and generally prepared for their impending move to Israel.
About two weeks ago, a medical center was established at the camp, where doctors raised the alarm about Tadella’s health.
“We asked the Israeli and American medical teams in Gondar for their professional opinions, and they indicated that there was a tangible threat to the girl’s life and that she required medical care in Israel,” said the head of the Jewish Agency delegation, Asher Seyum.
The child was urgently flown to Addis Ababa and subsequently to Israel. Medical supplies were obtained in order to provide her with treatment during the trip. An ambulance was dispatched to Ben-Gurion International Airport to taxi Tadella directly to the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center near Rishon Letzion upon her arrival.
Meanwhile, Tadella’s father, mother and two siblings were taken to the immigration absorption center in Mevaseret Zion, near Jerusalem.
Chairman of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky said of the event that “the Jewish Agency will continue to assist the immigrants awaiting aliyah, preparing them for life in Israel, until we are able to bring every last person who qualifies for aliyah to Israel.”
Meanwhile, the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency will convene this week in Jerusalem to discuss the issue of bringing the Falash Mura to Israel and their preparations for immigration.