(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a heartfelt greeting Tuesday on the eve of Ethiopian Immigrant Day, calling the story of the community’s desire to return to Jerusalem "the essence of our people's dreams and prayers."
"Decades ago, Ethiopian Jews left their homes in the dead of night. They went to the Land of Israel. They went to Jerusalem. They organized secretly, in small groups, left all their belongings behind and began their own exodus to Jerusalem," he said. "They marched for long weeks, sometimes longer, with babies on their backs, children holding their grandparents' hands. They went north, toward the horizon, in the direction of the Land of Israel. They suffered from hunger. They were robbed and attacked. Four thousand members of the community were unable to realize their dream and were buried along the way to the Land of the Patriarchs."
Netanyahu called it "a marvelous story" that expresses the "longing of generations of Jews."
The prime minister pledged to continue to act to reduce and overcome the difficulties in the Ethiopian community
"The State of Israel is committed to advancing the Ethiopian community
and vanquishing, once and for all, the phenomenon of discrimination," he
Remembrance day for members of the Ethiopian community
who perished en route to Israel was set for Jerusalem Day, and Netanyahu
explained the reason behind this decision.
"This is the day our
capital was liberated from the yoke of foreign occupation, the day on
which we were united with the eternal city of the Jewish People," he
said. "No day is more fitting for us to remember the members of the
community who perished en route to Jerusalem, those who so much believed
in the dream – to the point that they were ready to die for it.
year in the rebuilt Jerusalem!"
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