160 Ethiopian olim arrive in Israel

Over  2,000 new immigrants have arrived in the ongoing Operation Tzur Israel, with more to come.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

A special flight brought a group of 160 Ethiopian Jewish olim (new immigrants) to Israel on Tuesday as part of Operation Tzur Yisrael (Rock of Israel).

Tuesday’s flight was the third since the airlift resumed in November. Operation Tzur Yisrael aims to bring some 3,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel this year.

The second phase of operation occurred earlier this month when two flights arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport bringing 341 olim from Ethiopia. Phase one was launched in December 2021 and brought 2,000 Ethiopian Jews amid civil war in Ethiopia and other challenges.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem sponsored the flight, and together with Tuesday’s arrival, the ICEJ has supported the aliyah of some 2,750 Jews from Ethiopia who have immigrated to Israel since 2015.

“The Christian Embassy is privileged to help with the historic Ingathering of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel in our day, and we are especially committed to standing in support of the Ethiopian Aliyah,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler.

The Jews of Ethiopia “are the remnant of an ancient community who have waited long and suffered much for the hope of one day reuniting with the Jewish mainstream here in the land of their forefathers. May they be blessed as they embrace family and loved ones awaiting their arrival in Israel,” he said.

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.

To date, more than 2,000 new immigrants have arrived in the ongoing Operation Tzur Israel, with that total expected to grow to 5,000 following the flights that are planned during the coming months.

Along with their offspring, the Ethiopian community in Israel today numbers over 140,000 members.

The remnant of Jews still left in Ethiopia was 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.