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Celebrating 20 Years of Ethiopian Aliyah

A ceremony Thursday marked 20 years since Operation Solomon. Arutz Sheva spoke to a young woman born on the plane to Israel.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 11/4/2011, 10:22 AM

Ethiopian Baby with Israeli flag
Ethiopian Baby with Israeli flag
Flash 90

A ceremony was held Thursday in the President’s House in Jerusalem to mark 20 years since Operation Solomon. The complex operation saw 14,000 Jews from Ethiopia brought to Israel in just 36 hours.

Among those who landed in Israel were nine babies born on the way over. One of the now-20-year-olds born on the flight spoke to Arutz Sheva.

Yaroush Vanda said her family had integrated well into Israeli society with help from the establishment. “After we landed, they took us to an absorption center in Hatzor, and then we moved to Ashkelon, where I grew up and learned in religious schools, and where I live with my family to this day,” she said.

Today, Vanda serves as an officer in the IDF’s Intelligence Corp. She feels completely Israeli, she said, adding, “My whole family made aliyah. I’m proud to be Israeli.”

Thursday’s event saw a touching reunion as Vanda was able to meet the doctor who delivered her.

Ethiopian-Israelis honored at the event included singer Esther Rada, IDF Major Shlomi Betza – who was mortally wounded in combat in the Second Lebanon War and has since returned to combat duty, and successful high-tech businessman Asher Elias.