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The Ethiopian Aliyah Comes to a Close

A ceremony welcoming the new immigrants will take place at Ben Gurion Airport Terminal 1 on Monday, 29.10.12 at 15:00. In attendance will be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, James S. Tisch, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky, Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Sofa Landver, Chairman of Keren Hayesod, Eliezer (Moodi) Sandberg, President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America, Kathy Manning and members of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors.

The first charter flight with approximately 240 Olim (immigrants) from Ethiopia, half of them children, will arrive in Israel on Monday, 29.10. The flight was organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel pursuant to the July government decision to increase the rate of Ethiopian Aliyah in order to complete the immigration of the remainder of the Falash Mura to Israel. The ceremony will take place during the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors, which is taking place this week in Tel Aviv with the participation of Jewish leaders from Israel and around the world.

In July 2012, the government of Israel decided to increase the rate of Aliyah from Ethiopia in order to complete the process as quickly as possible. It was decided to reopen the Jewish Agency’s Ibim Absorption Center located in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council, which will be able to accommodate up to 600 of the Falash Mura. In order to facilitate the reopening of Ibim, the Jewish Agency raised 12 million shekels in addition to five and a half million shekels invested by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption.

Operation Dove’s Wings is expected to be completed by October 2013, with the immigration of the remainder of the eligible Falash Mura, who have been waiting in Gondar. The Jewish Agency for Israel has been operating a community center in Gondar, headed by Asher Sium, to provide services for the waiting Olim. The center provides a comprehensive range of social services including preparation classes for Aliyah run by a group of volunteers, humanitarian assistance and catering services. The center also runs a school which includes Hebrew and Jewish studies as well as the regular curriculum of the Ethiopian Education Ministry.

The Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Mr Natan Sharansky, noted that this was a historic moment which began with Operation Moses, continued with Operation Solomon, and will be concluded with Operation Dove’s Wings. Sharansky thanked the Jewish Agency’s partners across the Jewish World and in Israel for their contribution to the Aliyah of Ethiopian Jewry and to their integration into Israeli society.

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