ICEJ assists with first Aliyah flight of New Year

Another 300 Ethiopian Jews arrive as part of ‘Operation Rock of Israel’

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5 Jan 2021
ICEJ assists with first Aliyah flight of New Year

Aliyah in 2021 got off to a fast start last Friday, as a group of nearly 300 Ethiopian Jewish immigrants landed in Israel around dawn on the first day of the new year. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem sponsored the flights for 100 of these newcomers, who are part of the Israeli government’s “Operation Rock of Israel” airlift to bring 2,000 Ethiopian Jews home to Israel by the end of January.

The first day of the new year 2021 saw two flights from Addis Ababa arrive at Ben Gurion Airport early last Friday morning with a total of 299 Ethiopian olim (newcomers) on board. The current airlift is being carried out by Israeli officials and The Jewish Agency for Israel with the assistance of a number of partner organizations, including the Christian Embassy, which supported the Aliyah of 100 of the new immigrants who arrived that day.

The Israeli cabinet decided in 2015 to bring home the last 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 now sponsored Aliyah flights for over 2,400 Ethiopian Jews who have arrived in Israel since then, but the immigration process has been slow and the challenges to the well-being of those left behind are mounting.

Ethiopia is presently facing a number of steep challenges, including a prolonged drought, food shortages, a massive locust plague, the spread of coronavirus, and most recently an armed rebellion in the breakaway province of Tigray, just 45 miles across the border from the Gondar transit camps.

There are still approximately 7,500 members of the Jewish community remaining in Ethiopia, and Aliyah Minister Tamano-Shata, together with Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, are spearheading the effort to bring those eligible for entry to Israel over the next couple years.

Last week’s flight follows on the heels of a very fruitful year for the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts in 2020. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Christian Embassy assisted over 3,000 Jews from more than ten countries in making Aliyah last year. This included sponsoring flights for 1,624 Jewish immigrants coming from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Ethiopia, India and Brazil. In total, some 20,000 Jews immigrated to Israel in 2020.

The ICEJ is excited about assisting with the great Aliyah in the new year, and especially with flights for Ethiopian Jews – many of whom have been waiting for up to two decades for their chance to finally reach the Land of Israel. But we need your help!

Please consider what you can give to help with sponsoring more flights for Ethiopian Jews as this urgent airlift continues over the coming months.

Give today to our Ethiopian Aliyah efforts!

*Photo credits to JAFI and Zoog Pro