Help Bring Home A Flight of Ethiopian Jews
By: David Parsons, ICEJ VP & Senior Int. Spokesman
Some twenty years ago, thousands of Ethiopian Jews began leaving behind their fields and villages and hurrying to Addis Ababa and Gondar to hopefully board one of flights taking this ancient Jewish community home to Israel. But many ended up stuck in transit camps where they have languished ever since. This was around the time when Facebook and the first iPhone came along. So, while the world has been racing ahead into an age of instant global connectivity, these Ethiopian Jewish families have remained in limbo, longing to reach the Promised Land. Yet thankfully, we can do something to change that!
Israel has committed to bring home up to 3,000 Ethiopian Jews before the end of 2022 as part of its ongoing emergency airlift known as Operation Tzur Yisrael (“Rock of Israel”). To help achieve that goal, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is looking to sponsor Aliyah flights for many of these Ethiopian Jews due to arrive in the coming weeks and months. This is our chance, together, to help them make it to the Jewish homeland.
The remnant of Jews still left in Ethiopia were previously prevented from coming because they are considered Falash Mura, a term for Jews forced to convert to Christianity several generations ago largely to keep their jobs. But they continue to identify with the Jewish people and faith, and they have close relatives already living in Israel. So, in 2015 the Israeli government approved the resumption of the Ethiopian Aliyah in order to reunite these separated families.
Since that time, the Christian Embassy has sponsored Aliyah flights for more than half of the Ethiopian Jews (2,750 out of 5,347) who have been brought to Israel over recent years.
Our latest flight landed in June with 160 Ethiopian immigrants on board. An ICEJ delegation was there at Ben-Gurion Airport to welcome them and witness prophetic promises being fulfilled.
But we also witnessed first-hand many tearful embraces revealing the deep pain of these families split apart for all those long years.
There are still many more Ethiopian Jewish families who urgently need our help to finally reach Israel. With financial help from relatives in Israel, some have found decent housing and sent their children to school while they wait for approval to immigrate. But for those still living in the transit camps, the conditions continue to worsen. Often, their homes are tin shacks without electricity or running water. Many have trouble finding work and get taken advantage of because they want to leave. In addition, the nation has been hit hard by coronavirus, civil war, drought and famine.
Your support for our next planeload of Ethiopian Jews will help us cover the flight costs as well as various pre-flight expenses, including transportation and security needs, Hebrew lessons, medical attention, interview and documentation costs, plus urgent integration assistance once they arrive in Israel.
So, please give generously towards our upcoming Aliyah flights for Ethiopian Jewry. And maybe share this need with a friend on Facebook or on your mobile phone. Tell them it is truly time to bring home the last remnant of Ethiopian Jews.
Join us in helping more Ethiopian Jews return to Israel.