The evacuation of the Ethiopian Jews is a modern miracle. Since 1984, Israel has evacuated more than 20,000 Jewish citizens of Ethiopia to their homeland. The remaining part of the Jewish population in Ethiopia calls themselves “Beta Israel” (House of Israel). Their neighbors call them Falashas, which means “the outsiders”. They long to return to their homeland, to Jerusalem. The Falash Mura are Ethiopian descendents of Jews who converted to Christianity and have since returned to Judaism).
The exodus of these African Jews is evidence of Biblical prophecy happening before our very eyes. The Old Testament is fuill of prophecies regarding the return of the Jews from the four corners of the earth to the land. Read “for example Ezekiel 36:24:
“For I will take you out of the nations. I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land …”
Under ‘Operation Moses’ in 1984, 8,000 Ethiopian Jews were smuggled into Israel; and under ‘Operation Solomon’ in 1991, more than 14,000 Jews were brought home within 36 hours. Between 1991 and 2008 small waves of Ethiopian immigrants continued to emigrate to Israel.
The Falash Mura are located in camps in Gondar and Addis Ababa, awaiting transportation to Israel.
At 2.40am on Tuesday January 19th 2010, 81 new immigrants from the Falash mura community arrived in Israel on Ethiopian Airlines flight 404. This was the first flight of Falashmura since August 2008, when the immigration was completed of all those found eligible according to a government decision of 2003.
At 4:00am there was a welcoming ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport with the participation of Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver, Ministry of the Interior Eli Yishai, and Director-General of the Jewish Agency’s Aliyah and Absorption Department Eli Cohen.
Today January 20th, another 63 new immigrants from Ethiopia will arrive, with a total of 600 new immigrants from the Falashmura community planned to arrive in Israel in the next few months.
Representatives of the Interior Ministry and Jewish Agency emissaries have been in Ethiopia in recent months examining the eligibility of members of the Falashmura community to immigrate to Israel, according to criteria set by the Interior Ministry. As of now, 600 members of the community have received permission to immigrate and according to estimates of the Jewish Agency’s Aliyah and Absorption Department, another 2,000 of the community will receive permission in the course of 2010.
All the new immigrants will be housed in the Jewish Agency’s absorption centers around the country where they will be given all the necessary services for them to lead independent lives and successfully integrate within Israeli society.
More than 8,000 members of the Falashmura community are still waiting in Ethiopia for a government decision concerning their immigration. Most of these people have relatives who immigrated to Israel in recent years. The Chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive Natan Sharansky, who supports bringing the Falash mura to Israel, noted that the Jewish Agency is ready to host the new immigrants and efficiently and with dedication provide them with all the necessary services for their initial absorption. Sharansky expressed the hope that with the transfer of thousands of Falashmura to Israel, all the relevant parties – the government and the relief agencies – will bring an end to this painful issue.