Dream of Reaching Israel Comes True for 61 Ethiopian Jews

By: Laurina Driesse, ICEJ Head of Media and Publications

For a group of 61 Ethiopian Jews, their long-awaited dreams of reaching the promised land finally came true recently, thanks to Aliyah flights sponsored by the ICEJ. They were doubly excited to be reunited with family members who had 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 necessities like food, water, and electricity in short supply.

In consultation with the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) 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, JAFI approached us 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 on March 28, 2024, this special group of Ethiopian Jewish immigrants finally made their journey home.

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

Since the historic Ethiopian Aliyah was resumed by the Israeli government in 2015, the ICEJ has 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 an additional 1,226 Ethiopian Jews are eligible to make Aliyah and should be brought to Israel immediately. ICEJ stands ready to help with flights for this next group of Ethiopian Olim.

Partner with us in fulfilling our prophetic mandate to support the Jewish people in returning to their biblical homeland of Israel.