Some 180 Ethiopian immigrants arrived in Israel on Wednesday, with another 160 scheduled to arrive on Thursday. Their arrival signals the end of a saga that has separated families and left many Ethiopian Jews living in temporary transit camps for decades.
“First of all, it’s always good to come home to Israel and it’s always better to return with new immigrants. Welcome to Israel!” said Minister of Aliyah and Integration, Pnina Tamano-Shata on the tarmac.
Tamano-Shata immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia as a three-year-old during a covert evacuation of Jews known as Operation Moses in the mid-1980’s. She flew with the new immigrants back to Israel on Wednesday. Their arrival was broadcast via Facebook Live.
“A five-hour flight and long journey ends with a new journey, starting here in Israel. A five-hour flight and it’s incumbent on us to end the chapter of rejection and to begin a chapter of reception,” Tamano-Shata told the new arrivals.
Tamano-Shata has been instrumental in pushing for the resumption of immigration or Aliyah for the Ethiopians, many who have been stranded there, separated from family members because of bureaucracy for decades.
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