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Operation Joshua

Emmy® award-winning Myth Merchant Films has already begun development on a documentary titled Operation Joshua, the successful rescue of Ethiopian Jews stranded in the Sudanese desert in 1985. The film, is an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes story of how a small group of Jewish Americans, led by JLF founder Phil Blazer, initiated the rescue of hundreds of Ethiopian Jews facing religious persecution and genocide amidst one of the worst human rights atrocities since the Holocaust. Upon threat of death under genocidal Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Mariam, thousands of Ethiopian Jews were forced to leave their homes and undertake a treacherous six-week trek on foot to cross into Sudan. Many were airlifted out of Sudan to safety by an Israeli rescue operation in late 1984. Upon hearing that Israel was then forced to abruptly halt its mission, leaving over 400 hundred stranded and facing certain death, Blazer took immediate action in prompting an American-led rescue mission of its own.

Blazer met face-to-face with then-Vice President George H. Bush about the plight of those Jews left behind in the African desert. To bridge the political aisle and gain full nonpartisan support of "Operation Joshua," Blazer also recruited Democratic senator Alan Cranston and Republican senator Alfonse D'Amato. Armed with fierce determination, the support of Congress and a letter signed by all 100 U.S. Senators urging a humanitarian response, Mr. Blazer persuaded Vice President Bush to launch the mission that saved hundreds of lives. 

"The delivery of these Jews to the Promised Land is a story foretold two-thousand years ago in the Book of Isaiah and pulled off by a group of modern day American heroes," says Blazer. "I believe 'Operation Joshua' was the American Jewish community's answer to the Holocaust and that effort made sure the Ethiopian Jews didn't face the same horrors as European Jews during WWII."

Following the successful mission, neither Vice President Bush, President Reagan nor any of the 100 senators who participated in its success ever used the story for political gain. Involvement with "Operation Joshua" was never advertised by the CIA, its military counterpart.

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