Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Ethiopian counterpart that his country plans to bring about 2,000 Ethiopian Jews “immediately”
Netanyahu’s office said the decision stems from “his commitment to the continued aliyah of Jews in Israel”.
About 13,000 Ethiopian Jews are found in the capital, Addis Ababa, and in Gondar, most of them waiting to be taken to Israel, which they call home. Most live in dire conditions and have threatened to organize a hunger strike if they are not allowed to go to their “homeland”. Many say they have family members who have settled in Israel.
“About 250 people left for Israel in the past year until COVID-19 arrived. Now the trip has stopped, but Israeli officials are conducting interviews online, “Nigusie Alemu Eyasu, program director for the Ethiopian Jewish community, told The Associated Press.
Activists say the Israeli government made a commitment in 2015 to bring the remaining Ethiopian Jews to Israel. In 1991, as Ethiopia was in the midst of civil war, Israel conducted the dramatic Solomon operation, airlifting some 14,500 Ethiopian Jews in less than two days.
Ethiopian Jews are often referred to in Ethiopia as “Falashas”, a derogatory word that translates to “strangers” or “migrants”.