Ethiopian Jews arrive in Israel in first wave since aliyah program’s renewal


( Seventy-two new Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia arrived at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport Tuesday night as part of a collaborative effort between the Jewish Agency for Israel and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ).

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (left) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem Tuesday. Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.

More than 200 families and supporters greeted the new immigrants at the airport. Three more immigrant flights from Ethiopia are expected to arrive in Israel this month. Tuesday night’s flight marked the first group of Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia to arrive in Israel since the Israeli government renewed the Ethiopian aliyah program in October 2016.

ICEJ, a Christian Zionist global ministry, sponsored the latest Ethiopian immigration wave to Israel and has worked to raise funds for the first year of the reintroduced Ethiopian aliyah program, which will bring 1,400 new immigrants to the Jewish state. Some 9,000 Jews still reside in Ethiopia and are awaiting Israeli government approval to make aliyah.

Also Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and his wife to the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. 

“The Ethiopian community, Mr. Prime Minister, is a human bridge between our two nations,” Netanyahu said.

Posted on June 7, 2017 .