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ICEJ welcomes Ethiopian Jews arriving in urgent airlift

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Posted on: 
11 Dec 2020
ICEJ welcomes Ethiopian Jews arriving in urgent airlift

Last Friday, an ICEJ team was waiting at Ben-Gurion Airport to welcome a flight of 116 Ethiopian Jews arriving on an Aliyah flight sponsored by the Christian Embassy. It was a moving moment as they kneeled down to kiss the ground of the Promised Land, ending decades and even generations of longing to reach the Jewish homeland.

The new arrivals were part of a group of 432 Ethiopian Jewish immigrants who landed last week in the first phase of “Operation Rock of Israel”, a special airlift being carried out by Israel and the Jewish Agency to bring home 2,000 Ethiopian Jews by the end of January. The ICEJ is supporting this Aliyah operation as worsening conditions in Ethiopia have given new urgency to bringing home the last remnant of this ancient Jewish community.

The Israeli cabinet committed in 2015 to bring home the final remnant of Ethiopian Jewry, who have been living in poor conditions in transit camps in Gondar and Addis Ababa, some waiting there for up to 20 years to make Aliyah. The Christian Embassy has sponsored Aliyah flights for over 2,300 Ethiopian Jews who have arrived in Israel since then, including 384 olim this year – despite the Corona travel bans. But the immigration process has been slow and the challenges to those left behind are mounting.

There are still approximately 7-8,000 members of the community remaining in Ethiopia, which has been suffering under a prolonged drought, while a massive plague of locust also has hit East Africa over the past year. As a result, food supplies are running short and prices are spiraling upward. Many Jews in the transit camps are malnourished, especially children. And Ethiopia is now facing the spread of coronavirus. Add to this an armed rebellion which erupted in early November in the breakaway province of Tigray, just 45 miles across the border from the Gondar transit camps, and the situation has become quite worrisome.

So this airlift operation comes at a critical moment for those Ethiopian Jews still living in the transit camps of Gondar and Addis Ababa. Israel has decided to bring them home to Israel, and it is a privilege for the ICEJ to support this historic and humanitarian effort to reunite Ethiopian families and fulfill the dreams of many generations to finally reach the Jewish homeland.

The opportunity is here to help bring home several thousand more Ethiopian Jews who are desperate to reach Israel. It is time for us to act!

Please consider a generous donation to help these very deserving people re-join their families in the Jewish homeland. May the Lord bless you richly as you donate towards this very urgent and worthy cause!




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