I can imagine an Ethiopian Jew being horrified at being rejected as a Jew by people in his new home in Israel . . .
Oh, don't get me started about Jewish identification in Israel. In fact, prepare for me to use the rest of this post to vent:
A kind of weird religious situation exists there. The Orthodox rabbinate pretty much control religious matters--which is odd, because Israeli Jews are overwhemingly not
Orthodox. But because there are so many political parties (thank you, proportional representation) they all need to form coalition governments--and so tiny Orthodox parties end up with disproportionate power over religious issues.
One of the religious issues they have power over is marriage for Jews. They have no power over Muslims or Christians or people of any other religion in that respect (nor, in fairness, do they want it); there's a limited form of Sharia law valid in Israel, so Sharia courts handle Muslim marriages and divorces, and there are some kind of arrangements for Christians and people of other religions. But there's no such thing as a secular marriage; if you want that, no matter what religion you are, you either make arrangements through lawyers or go to another country to get married. (The state of Israel recognizes marriages performed in another country.)
So here's the weird situation: the state of Israel acknowledges many, many more people as Jewish than the Orthodox rabbinate. For example, say you convert to Reconstructionist, Reform or Conservative Judaism. The state of Israel will recognize you as a Jew. But the Orthodox rabbinate won't, unless you re-convert to Orthodox Judaism. So if you move to Israel and try to get married to another Jew, you can't. (This is one of the reasons some immigrants whose Judaism is questioned by the Orthodox, whether they be Russian or Ethopian or converts to another branch, just buckle down and convert under an approved Orthodox rabbi. But that's problematic if you don't intend to live an Orthodox life.)
Recently, the Orthodox tried to grab even more power over defining who is and isn't a Jew through a new Conversion Bill . Fortunately it caused such outrage in both Israel and diaspora that it's been shelved for now. (Thank G-d.)
Anyway, the whole situation is a mess, and it's causing more and more tension between the secular Jewish majority in Israel and the Orthodox Jewish minority. Never mind what Reconstructionist, Reform and Conservative Jews in Israel think, because they scarcely exist. The Orthodox have such a stranglehold over Jewish religious issues that . . . oy, don't get me started.
And now I sound completely prejudiced against Orthodox Jews--but I'm not, really! My issues aren't with Orthodox Jews--they're just with the Orthodox Jewish political parties in Israel. And since I'm an American Jew, they don't affect me much.
And I know I've just vented and kvetched about Israel--but please, don't anyone use this thread to talk about Israeli-Palestinian issues. That needs its own thread! I keep praying for a two-state solution that will miraculously satisfy everyone, and that's as much as I want to talk about it here.
(Sorry, but on other forums I've seen that topic hijack threads that remotely mention Israel . . .)