Some 181 Ethiopian Jews landed in Israel on Wednesday, launching the second stage of Operation Tzur Yisrael.
As part of this stage of the operation, 3,000 first-degree relatives of Ethiopian immigrants who have been waiting for years in camps in Ethiopia will be reunited with their families. The first stage of the operation ended last March, after 2,000 Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel.
The second stage of Operation Tzur Yisrael was agreed upon last November in a process led by Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked. The Aliyah and Integration Ministry has set up five new absorption center to help the new immigrants integrate into Israeli society.
A second flight carrying 160 immigrants from Ethiopia is expected to arrive on Thursday.
Earlier this week, a special delegation headed by Tamano-Shata will depart for Ethiopia. Hagoel will join the delegation alongside other high-level officials from the Jewish Federation of North America, Keren Hayesod, the WZO and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
Dozens of Jewish Federation leaders are in Ethiopia on a delegation led by @JewishAgency to meet with community members awaiting aliyah and to join olim on their 1st steps in Zion. Today in the Gondar synagogue, our delegation joined an emotional rendition of Am Yisrael Chai. pic.twitter.com/OKY3itLH7Z— The Jewish Federations of North America (@jfederations) May 31, 2022
"I arrived in my homeland, to meet and hug the many waiting people and hear from them about their difficult situation and the disconnection from their families in Israel. The many who wait live in malnutrition and poverty, and the consequences of the war still affect the condition of our brothers and sisters," said Tamano-Shata. "This is an exciting day for me and my Ethiopian community and it is a great privilege for me to be the voice of the divided families waiting for their loved ones - every family that is united thanks to Operation Tzur Yisrael is a world in its entirety."
"The many who wait live in malnutrition and poverty, and the consequences of the war still affect the condition of our brothers and sisters."Pnina Tamano-Shata, Aliyah and Integration Minister
"These inspiring moments are a reminder of how important it is to invest in the infrastructure of Jewish support organizations, which Federations do year in & out to ensure we are prepared to act when the need arises," said Jewish Federations of North America President and CEO Eric Fingerhut on Wednesday.
"The Jewish Federations of North America are proud of our decades-long work hand in hand with the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Government of Israel to help more than 97,000 Ethiopian Jews fulfill their dream of immigrating to Israel and supporting their absorption into Israeli society," said Mark Wilf, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America. "This sacred effort is the highest expression of the Jewish Federations' dedication to helping Jews wherever they are, and we will continue to work with our partners to support Israel's first steps in Ethiopian immigration and assist those still waiting to immigrate."