119 olim (immigrants) from Ethiopia arrived in Israel on Jerusalem Day. Due to Health Ministry regulations the new olim were sent to undergo home isolation at a designated hostel. "It's a huge privilege to start my role in this way as the Minister of Aliyah and Integration, said the Minister, Pnina Tamano-Shata. The olim who arrived in Israel stayed in transit camps in Ethiopia for several years. The struggle to bring all those waiting has gone on for over a decade. “They’re home now,” said the minister, and pointed out that this week, 152 additional olim from Ukraine and Russia have arrived.

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עולים מאתיופיה לאחר נחיתתם בנתב"ג, לצד בוז'י הרצוג, יו"ר הסוכנות, ופנינה תמנו שטה, שרת הקליטה והעלייה החדשה (צילום: שלומי אמסלם/לע"מ/משרד העלייה והקליטה)

“Your ancestors dreamed of Jerusalem, and today you are fulfilling that dream,” said Isaac Herzog, head of the Jewish Agency. “The arrival of olim from Ethiopia on Yom Yerushalayim and the Memorial day for the Ethiopian Jews who perished on their Journey to Israel is a poignant emotional symbol. I bless the new olim who are arriving to Israel and fulfilling the dreams of many generations who waited in transit camps in Ethiopia.”

“We are getting ready for a massive wave of Aliyah from all corners of the Earth on account of the coronavirus,” said the minister yesterday at Ben Gurion international airport, who herself made Aliyah at 3 years of age. According to Jewish Agency numbers, in the last couple of month, over 1,500 Jews made aliyah, the vast majority coming from Russia. According to various estimates, due to the coronavirus crisis and its social and economic consequences, we ought to expect a huge wave over the next two years of approximately 100,000 new olim.

Thousands of those in waiting are still torn between Israel and Ethiopia"

“Alongside the pain bound up in the Memorial Day we mark today, the Aliyah of more of those who are waiting in Ethiopia is a day of celebration for their family members in Israel,” said Uri Frednik, an aliyah activist. “Thousands of those in waiting are still torn between Israel and Ethiopia. We are counting on the incoming Aliyah and Integration Minister to bring historic justice to the ongoing suffering and to actualize the government resolution of 2015, and in doing so, avoid huge additional suffering for those waiting to make Aliyah in Ethiopia.”

“We implore the Israeli government to not forget us and the suffering we face every day,” said Surfel Alamo, an IDF reserve combat soldier whose sisters are still waiting in Ethiopia. “Before the elections, Netanyahu and Gantz promised us that they would complete the aliyah by the end of 2020, but today the aliyah is happening at a pathetic and unacceptable pace. We must put an end to the discrimination against the aliyah of the remaining Jews of Ethiopia.”