Operation Tzur Israel aims to bring a total of 5,000 Jews from Ethiopia.
A flight carrying 209 olim (new immigrants) from Ethiopia, including 41 children and toddlers, landed at Ben Gurion Airport on Wednesday as part of Operation Tzur Yisrael (Rock of Israel) to bring Ethiopia’s Jewry to Israel.
The immigrants, who arrived from the communities in Gondar and Addis Ababa on a special flight, fulfilled their dream of immigrating to Israel after many years of waiting and will celebrate Rosh Hashanah together with their relatives in Israel.
Minister of Aliyah and Absorption Pnina Tamano Sheta, who welcomed the new immigrants upon their landing said that “it is exciting to welcome the hundreds of immigrants who have waited many years to arrive in the Holy Land, Israel.”
Operation Tzur Israel aims to bring a total of 5,000 Jews from Ethiopia. The first phase of the operation, which started in December 2020 and ended in March 2021, brought about 2,000 people to Israel.
The second phase of the operation was launched in June 2022 and another 3,000 in total will arrive. So far, about 1,450 immigrants from Ethiopia have immigrated in the second stage.
Many of the Ethiopian arrivals have been living for some 20 years in difficult conditions in transit camps in Gondar and Addis Ababa, waiting for their chance to immigrate to Israel.
Over 95,000 Ethiopian Jews have immigrated to Israel since the mid-1980s when approximately 8,000 immigrants arrived through Operation Moses through Sudan. In 1991, 14,000 immigrants arrived as part of Operation Solomon. In the summer of 2013, The Jewish Agency launched Operation Dove’s Wings, which brought 7,000 immigrants from Ethiopia.
Along with their offspring, the Ethiopian community in Israel today numbers over 140,000 members.
The remnant of Jews still left in Ethiopia were previously prevented from coming because they are considered Falash Mura, Jews forced to convert to Christianity several generations ago.
They continued to practice Judaism and have relatives in Israel, so the Israeli government approved the resumption of their aliyah back in 2015 on humanitarian grounds.
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