Israel’s 30-year campaign of organized immigration from Ethiopia will draw to a close on Wednesday afternoon when 450 of the last Falashmura arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport on two flights chartered by the Jewish Agency.
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Before the new immigrants board their flight, a farewell ceremony will be held at the Israeli embassy in Addis Ababa, attended by Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver.
Ethiopian Jews have been brought to Israel in three major waves – Operation Moses in 1984, Operation Solomon in 1992, and Operation Dove’s Wings, which began last October and targeted the remaining Falashmura in the African country.
Falashmura is the name given to members of Ethiopia’s Jewish community who were pressured to convert to Christianity in the 19th and 20th centuries.
After many years of inaction, in late 2010 the government bowed to pressure from American and Israeli organizations that advocate on behalf of Ethiopian Jews and agreed to allow these thousands of Falashmura, who had been waiting in transit camps in Gondar, to come to Israel and reunite with their families.
Since last October, the Jewish Agency has chartered 91 flights, which have brought altogether 7,000 Ethiopians to Israel on Operation Dove’s Wings.