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Who are the Ethiopian Jews? The Ethiopian Jews consider themselves the descendants of the Queen of Sheba. They were first encountered by a Westerner, Professor Joseph Halevi, in 1877. He had heard about the “falashas”, the Ethiopian word for “stranger”, who had moved to Gondar Province to be free to practice their religion.

How did the Ethiopian Jews make Aliyah?

In 1984, having crossed into Sudan, some
8,000 Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel
with the aid of the US, Canada and the UK.
Since Israel could not land in the Sudan, they
had to make their way via Belgium. This Aliyah
was named “Operation Moses”.
In May 1991, on a Sabbath, the second “miracle”
airlift occurred. In “Operation Solomon”, military,
civilian and private planes – anything that could
fly the distance – took off from Israel, landed in
Ethiopia, refueled while loading up with
passengers, flew back to Israel, refueled as the
passengers disembarked and flew back again.





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             For children, assimilation is easier

For teenagers, the transition was difficult. A large number had no high school education, so the Israeli government placed them in boarding schools to accelerate the learning process. However, many youths dropped out or opted not to matriculate.
Today, the situation is improving. High School is no longer such a challenge, and many more students attend colleges and universities. Progress is slow, however. Many of the students have to depend on scholarships since their parents cannot afford to pay for their children’s education.

How has life changed for Ethiopian Jews in Israel?
For many, the absorption process has been
very difficult. Hardest hit have been the largely illiterate elders. For these former farmers, learning Hebrew and adjusting to life in a small, crowded city apartment have been insurmountable obstacles.
The young children often go to school,
speak Hebrew among themselves and
Amharic (Ethiopian) only to their
elders, and consider themselves Israeli.
However, Israeli society has been less
accepting. Many of these children
continue to suffer from alienation,
both as Ethiopians and as Israelis,
often resulting in socio-psychological
issues.
Over a period of 24 hours, 14,000
Ethiopian Jews were brought “home”.
No one who saw it will ever forget the
sight of Ethiopian Jews, deplaning
in Israel, dropping on their knees,
and kissing the ground of their
beloved Zion.
By the year 2000, 57,000 Ethiopian
immigrants had come to Israel. By
2015, the Ethiopian-Israeli
population numbered 135,000.

Trek to Sudan
The Ethiopian Jews

The Forgotten People Fund

A charity registered in Israel # 58-032-322-8


Sadly, Elders lost their status with Aliya