While Yola and team got the resort into shape, a select group of Ethiopian Jews were sent into the refugee camps to locate fellow Jews and prepare them for departure.When the timing was right for an operation, hundreds of Jewish refugees fled into the nighttime desert, taking only the barest of possessions.An estimated 1,700 Jews died along the way, victims of starvation, exposure, and violent bandits.Those who survived were left languishing with millions of other refugees in squalid camps – subsisting in shacks made of straw and cardboard, with epidemics of malnutrition and disease.We had to produce documents stating we are both single, send mine to the foreign affairs in England then to the Ethiopian Embassy. At the moment I am in England, I want to return to Ethiopia to live and once again I'm getting the run around stating I can only live there for 1 month at a time even though I am Married to an Ethiopian! Why, Why, are we getting all this problem to live and work there, so many people are complaining!!! Yola Reitman was enjoying a comfortable life as an El Al flight attendant and avid deep-sea diver. The year was 1982 and Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin was determined to rescue the long-lost Jewish tribe, Beta Israel.On an isolated Red Sea beach, the Italians built an entire resort village – complete with bungalows, kitchen, dining hall, and essential infrastructure.
"It was surely an offer I could not refuse," Yola told from her home in central Israel.
Only when it was dark again did they continue the journey.
For these operations, Yola was stationed in the middle of the desert, serving as a communications transmitter between the refugee trucks and the rescue boats.
Though Beta Israel's precise "Jewish connection" has been a topic of debate, prominent rabbis from the 16th century Radbaz to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef have recognized their Jewish roots.
Thousands of Beta Israel had fled Ethiopia on foot for refugee camps in Sudan, a harrowing month-long journey traversing harsh, barren desert.