Watch: 119 Ethiopian immigrants arrive in Israel

119 Ethiopian Jews fulfilled their dream of immigrating to Israel on Jerusalem Day.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

MK Pnina Tamano-Shata welcomes the Olim
MK Pnina Tamano-Shata welcomes the Olim
צילום: שלומי אמסלם

The Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and The Jewish Agency for Israel today (May 21st) welcomed 119 Ethiopian immigrants who will begin their new life in Israel.

Upon their arrival, the new immigrants were greeted by Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive Isaac Herzog and newly minted Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano-Shata.

Minister Tamano-Shata noted that: “It’s a huge privilege to welcome these 119 wonderful Olim from Ethiopia just as I begin my position as Minister of Aliyah and Integration. They have been waiting a long time to fulfill the dream of Aliyah. Now they’ve made it home and I’m extremely moved. I will make sure we do all we can to assist them as they start to build their life in Israel. This week, 111 Olim arrived from Ukraine and 41 from Russia. The Ministry of Aliyah and Integration works tirelessly to promote Aliyah, absorption and integration of new Olim from all over the world. We are preparing for a massive wave of Aliyah resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. I’m glad the new government will place an emphasis on Aliyah and integration and will make increasing Aliyah from all over the world a priority.”

The date of their arrival is an auspicious one, as it coincides with the annual Memorial Day for Ethiopian Jews who perished on their way to Israel held on Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), which marks the unification of Israel’s capital, a city which holds a special place in the heart of Jewish Ethiopians.

“We will remember the thousands who dreamed of Jerusalem and perished along the way and are working tirelessly to facilitate Aliyah for members of the community who are still waiting to fulfill the dream of moving to Israel,” Jewish Agency Chairman Herzog said.

Herzog added that “Welcoming these new Olim on the day we commemorate the Memorial Day for Ethiopian Jews who perished on their way to Israel and honor the memory of the many Ethiopians who died on the difficult journey, provides a bittersweet closure. Those who miraculously completed that journey are haunted by the hardships they experienced in the sweltering desert along the way. I congratulate these new immigrants and every single one who came before them and endured untold suffering in order to realize their dream of Aliyah. The Jewish Agency will continue to ensure that every one of them finds their way home to Israel.”

Given the continued monitoring of the coronavirus pandemic, the arrival of the new immigrants will adhere to Ministry of Health regulations. The Jewish Agency and Ministry of Aliyah and Integration will also work with the Ministry of Defense in supervising their transition to a government-provided youth hostel where the new immigrants are expected to stay for the mandated quarantine. During this period, Jewish Agency caseworkers will assist them in ensuring they are acclimating to their new life in Israel and will facilitate their subsequent move to various absorption centers across the country.

Due to strict travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Jewish Agency and Ministry of Aliyah and Integration chartered a special aircraft to bring the Olim to Israel. This is the second group of Ethiopian immigrants who arrived amid the pandemic, with 72 arriving in March and settling in absorption centers in the country’s North and South.

Their arrival was made possible by support from the Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod, other friends of Israel from around the world.