Ethiopian Jews arriving at Ben Gurion Airport
By Laurina Driesse
Ethiopian Jews arriving at Ben Gurion Airport

For a group of 61 Ethiopian Jews, their long-awaited dreams of reaching the Promised Land finally came true last week, thanks to Aliyah flights sponsored by the ICEJ. They were doubly excited to be reunited with family members who already made the journey home to Israel during earlier waves of Ethiopian Aliyah.

In August last year, there was a serious outbreak of violence and armed clashes among rival tribes in the Ethiopian region of Gondar, where many of the remaining Jews in the country still live. The situation quickly became critical, with streets blocked and basic necessities like food, water and electricity in short supply.

Ethiopian Jews rescued from Gondar

In consultation with the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency For Israel acted swiftly in arranging a rescue effort to bring 200 Jews out of Gondar and transport them to Addis Ababa, where JAFI could take care of them. At the time, 61 of these Ethiopian Jews had already been approved to make Aliyah to Israel, but they needed to wait for their necessary travel documents.

In the meantime, the Jewish Agency approached the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem with a request for assistance to support the 61 Jews with their Aliyah flights and integration costs once in Israel. The ICEJ quickly affirmed our commitment to help them, and last Thursday (28 March), this special group of Ethiopian Jewish immigrants finally made their journey home.

Ethiopian Jews transported from Gondar

There was a jovial atmosphere in the arrival hall at Ben Gurion Airport as loved ones wearing broad smiles and waving balloons eagerly waited to be reunited with their relatives and welcome them to Israel!

Since the historic Ethiopian Aliyah was resumed by the Israeli government in 2015, the ICEJ has now sponsored Aliyah flights for 3,286 out of the 7,948 Jewish immigrants who have arrived from Ethiopia.

According to a recent Knesset press release Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee Chair MK Forer said that at the present time there are an additional 1,226 Ethiopian Jews who are eligible to make Aliyah and they should be brought to Israel immediately. ICEJ stands ready to help with flights for this next group of Ethiopian Olim.

The ICEJ invites you to partner with us in fulfilling our prophetic mandate to support the Jewish people in returning to their biblical homeland of Israel. Your contribution towards to ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts will help make dreams a reality for more Jewish families, especially during this time when antisemitism is sharply rising across the globe. Please consider giving your best gift today.

Donate at:

Photos credit: JAFI